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  • Writer's pictureSinead Mackintosh

Breast Cancer MicroRNA

A recent study from the University of Westminster showed that removing microRNAs from triple-negative breast cancer can reverse its spread. Now this sounds really exciting and maybe a little confusing… What are microRNAs? And what is triple-negative breast cancer?

MicroRNA are little pieces of genetic information involved in cell communication and are central in cancer development. Triple-negative breast cancer is a type of breast cancer that tests negative for oestrogen and progesterone receptors and excess HER2 protein.

This means the growth of the cancer is not powered by the hormones oestrogen and progesterone or by the HER2 protein. Therefore, triple-negative breast cancer does not respond to hormonal therapy or medicines aimed at HER2 protein receptors. Triple-negative breast cancer makes up 10-20% of all breast cancers. It is thought to be the most aggressive form of breast cancer with a poor prognosis due to a lack of targeted treatment.

These researchers used CRISPR to remove the microRNA (specifically miR-21) out of the cancer cells and saw that cancer spreading features were reversed. The microRNA can also be used for the early detection and treatment of triple-negative breast cancer.

Further research will hopefully reveal the relationship between the microRNA and cancer drug resistance, which will help in cancer treatment.

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