The recent discovery of non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) has dramatically altered our view of gene regulation in cancer. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of ncRNAs that function to regulate gene expression at the transcriptional and post-transcriptional level, playing a pivotal role in cancer progression and metastasis.
Using an integrated miRNA-mRNA expression profiling analysis, we have documented a miRNA regulatory network, whose downregulation is associated with the aggressive phenotype of cancer (Haematologica 2019).
This study will investigate how a crosstalk between miRNA regulatory network and epigenetic/signaling pathways determines the fate of stem cells and this will pave the way for developing novel RNA-based therapeutics in effectively destroying malignant stem cells.
Techniques: Single cell multi-omics technologies (transcriptomics, proteomics and epigenomics), cell-based assays, drug response assays, molecular and cell biology, gene and protein expression, immunofluorescence, gene editing, chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing (ChIP-seq), flow cytometry, patient-derived xenograft mouse models, in vivo preclinical drug testing, stem cell technologies etc.
Significance: Successful completion of these projects will generate new insights into cancer and stem cell biology, identify novel therapeutic targets, and provide preclinical validation of therapeutic potential.
These studies therefore have the potential to lead to the development of novel therapies that directly and selectively kill cancer stem cells, which are now considered to be the root cause of disease progression, tumor resistance to chemotherapy, and ultimate relapse.