Chapter 1

Silencing Human Cancer: Identification and Uses of MicroRNAs

Francisco E. Nicolas, Sara Lopez-Gomollon, Alfonso F. Lopez-Martinez and Tamas Dalmay

Abstract

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a new class of negative regulators that repress gene expression by pairing with their target messenger RNAs (mRNAs). There are hundreds of miRNAs coded in the human genome and thousands of target mRNAs participating in a wide variety of physiological processes such as development and cell identity. It is therefore not surprising that several recent reports involved deregulated miRNAs in the complex mechanism of human carcinogenesis, and proposed them as new key regulators to correct the unbalanced expression of oncogenes and tumour suppressor genes exhibited in cancer cells. This chapter summarizes most of the recent patents related to the use of miRNA signatures in cancer diagnosis and prognosis, the detection and profiling of miRNAs from tumour samples and the identification of oncogenes and tumour suppressor genes targeted by miRNAs, as well as new cancer therapies based on miRNA modulators.

Total Pages: 3-30 (28)

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