Washington D.C. [U.S.A.], Mar. 03 (ANI): Turns out, a new method has identified splicing biomarkers for liver cancer.
According to a Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory-study, researchers have developed a method for identifying splicing-based biomarkers for the most common form of liver cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
The researchers, led by Professor Adrian Krainer, believed the method will be useful in other cancer types as well. Since, liver cancer is particularly diverse, genetically, and prone to relapse, identifying biomarkers that can predict disease progression is a critical goal in the fight against it.
"This study underscores the potential for learning how RNA splicing variants can contribute to cancer and points to these variants as potential biomarkers for cancer progression," Krainer said.
A gene can give rise to multiple RNA messages, each resulting in a different protein variant, or "isoform." Many diseases have been associated with errors or variations in the way that RNA is spliced.
Errors or variations in splicing can lead to non-functional proteins or proteins with distinct or aberrant functions.
Recent studies have identified splicing irregularities in liver cancer cells. Led by researcher Kuan-Ting Lin, Krainer's team developed a method that comprehensively analyzes all RNA messages made from a given gene.
The team tested their splicing-variant detection method in HCC, by analysing RNA messages in HCC cells sampled from hundreds of patients.
These unusual versions of the protein are associated with adult liver cancer cells with mutations in tumour-suppressor genes called TP53 and ARID1A.
These mutations, the researchers hypothesised, are associated with low levels of a molecule called NAD+ that is involved in repairing damaged DNA.
Krainer's team previously used this technique to correct errors in the splicing of the gene SMN2 as a way to treat spinal muscular atrophy (SMA).
Fixing AFMID splicing could lead to enhanced production of NAD+ and an increase in DNA repair. "If we can do this, AFMID splicing can become a therapeutic target and the source of a new drug for liver cancer," Lin said.
The study is published in the journal Genome Research. (ANI)