MicroRNAs - the molecular markers of cancer
MicroRNAs (miRs) are the short (compared to other classes of RNA) molecules, 19-24 base pairs long. They are implemented in regulation of genes at the transcriptional and post-transcriptional levels.
miRs function via base –paired interaction within matrix RNAs (mRNA), that results in downregulation of their expression and suppression of protein synthesis. This mechanism is called RNA interference (RNAi).
Сomplementary interaction with mRNAs results in specific inhibition of a certain protein or class of proteins. Over 1800 human microRNAs are discovered at present and 40% of them are linked to different types of physiological processes. According to their structure and functions miRs are classified by families.
The last 5-7 years of intensive studies in the field of cancer revealed a large number of miR families, that are involved in regulation of cancer specific machinery including transcription factors, cell cycle regulation, apoptosis, DNA reparation system and drug metabolism.
Systematic approach of transcriptome, exome and genome analysis by means of databases allows to build networks and to link variety of miRs and other biomarkers to a certain pathology processes in cancer.
AVA-miR Genomics offers a broad range of services, based on our database, that makes possible to manage the expression data, predict drug targets, reveal specific cancer related features. The service is helpful for the scientists as well as for physicians who are interested in cancer biomarkers and targeted therapy.
The following specific features that make miRs suitable for diagnostics:
- - Scalability
Over 800 miRs are associated with well known tumor pathways. Large amounts of closely related miRs allow to establish diagnostic panels in order to identify type of cancer and predict tumor behavior, including drug resistance
- - Compatibility
miRs are associated with variety of other biomarkers (DNA mutations, SNP, gene expression), and that increases value and reliability of the test
- - Resistance
Compared to the mRNA expression markers , miRs are more resistant to nucleases in biological fluids, including plasma
- - Non invasive
Longer period of degradation allows to consider miRs as the candidates for the plasma biomarkers in non invasive cancer predictive tests