Researchers at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center have developed a new technique that employs RNA, a tiny chemical cousin of DNA, for activation of genes. The new technique demonstrate the most effective and consistent method to date for coaxing genes into making the proteins that carry out all of life’s functions – a process formally called gene expression.
In its experiments, the UT Southwestern team used strands of RNA that were tailor-made to complement the DNA sequence of a specific gene in isolated breast cancer cells. Once the RNA was introduced into the protein mix, the gene was activated, ultimately resulting in a reduced rate of growth in the cancer cells.
Current methods to block gene expression, such as RNA interference, rely on using RNA strands to intercept and bind with messenger RNA. While RNA interference is an effective tool for studying gene expression, Dr. Janowski said, it’s more efficient to use RNA to control both activation and de-activation at the level of the chromosome.
This research is important because it could result in better methods for genetic therapies, allowing better treatment of cancers, as well as various genetic disorders. As I know several people who suffer from genetic disorders, so I view anything that can improve treatments for them to be a good thing.