Novel siRNA-Based Technique Can Convert Cancer Cells into Normal Ones

Cancer cells are abnormally dividing cells that have the capability of spreading throughout the body and cause havoc. They are excessively mischievous and can take a toll on the working of normal tissues and important organs of the body. However, scientists at the Ben-Gurion University of Negev has developed a method by which, the misbehaving cancer cells can be disciplined again.

A team of researchers, led by Varda Shoshan-Barmatz, a professor at the Israeli University, has recently made claims about developing a molecule that can stop cancer cells from growing uncontrollably and convert them back into healthy, non-cancerous ones.

This novel approach is based on utilizing the features of small interfering ribonucleic acid (siRNA), whose role is to turn off VDAC1 – a protein responsible for providing energy to cancerous cells. By targeting VDAC1, the research group determined how to curb the malignancy of cancer cells, so that they start behaving like normal cells.

In vitro and mice models have shown promising results for treating lung cancer, glioblastoma (a type of brain cancer) and triple negative breast cancer. And, the team is hopeful about the wider application of this approach, so that more types of cancer can be cured using this technique.


The researchers explained that the siRNA-based treatment reprogrammed the metabolism of cancer cells, decreased the growth of tumor cells, inhibited development of new blood vessels around cancer cells, reduced cancer cell growth, prevented cancer from invading surrounding tissues and promoted cancer stem cell disappearance and cell differentiation.

Another important aspect of this treatment lies in the fact that it did not affect the noncancerous cells; thereby, reducing the incidence of side effects. It emerged as a process that is well controlled and safer.

This technology has already been patented by the BGN Technologies, which is the technology transfer company of Ben-Gurion University. Presently, the company is looking for partners to do further research in this field and test the effectiveness of the technique in human subjects through clinical trials.

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