July 25, 2024

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Scientists Discover Ancient Anti-Cancer Mechanism: DISE

Scientists Discover Ancient Anti-Cancer Mechanism: DISE

Scientists Discover Ancient Anti-Cancer Mechanism: DISE

A recent study has unveiled an ancient anti-cancer mechanism known as DISE, shedding light on the evolutionary role of RNA interference in combating cancer.

This groundbreaking research, led by scientists Monal Patel and Marcus E. Peter from Northwestern University, was recently published in the journal “Oncotarget.”

Scientists Discover Ancient Anti-Cancer Mechanism: DISE

Despite significant advancements in cancer treatments, cancer remains one of the leading causes of global mortality. This systemic disease begins at the cellular level and can affect individuals of all ages. Once a single cell acquires mutations, it undergoes a transformation known as tumor initiation.

Cell division is the primary risk factor for accumulating mutations, which explains why all multicellular organisms that evolved approximately 2 billion years ago are prone to cancer. Given the recent success of cancer treatments through immune checkpoint blockade therapy, multicellular organisms may have evolved an immune system as a mechanism for eradicating cancer cells. “However, the emergence of the immune system was relatively recent, approximately 500 million years ago.”

Furthermore, research suggests that cancer cells can develop resistance to the anti-cancer activity of the innate and adaptive immune systems. Therefore, while the immune system is crucial, it may not be the most significant mechanism that evolved in multicellular organisms to prevent cancer formation. Researchers believe that there are other more effective and ancient anti-cancer mechanisms that exist in the process of evolution.

It is worth noting that RNA interference (RNAi) is a highly conserved biological mechanism for gene expression silencing. Although RNAi may have initially evolved as a defense mechanism against viruses and other foreign nucleic acids, it has also evolved to have other activities within cells. The team’s research has identified a novel RNAi-based evolutionarily conserved form of cell death that targets essential survival genes: Death Inducing Survival Gene Elimination (DISE).

“DISE was discovered through our research on CD95 and its ligand CD95L, where we found that over 80% of 26 different short interfering RNAs (siRNA) and short hairpin RNAs (shRNA) originating from these two genes killed various cancer cell lines by simultaneously activating multiple cell death pathways; we could not find a way to inhibit this form of cell death.”

Scientists Discover Ancient Anti-Cancer Mechanism: DISE

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