MicroRNAs - A New Generation Molecular Targets for Treating Cellular Diseases
Ramasamy Paulmurugan, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Radiology
Stanford University School of Medicine
1501 South California Avenue, Office 2217
Palo Alto, CA 94304
Phone: 650-725-6097, Fax: 650-721-6921
Frank Berger, M.D.
Institute of Clinical Radiology
University Hospitals of Munich-Grosshadern
Marchioninistr. 15, D-81377 Munich, Germany
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a novel class of approximately 18-22 nucleotide long non-coding endogenous RNAs, regulating gene expression post-transcriptionally and controlling major cellular processes such as cell proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis. Dysregulation or aberrant expression of miRNAs is linked to a variety of cellular pathogenesis including cancer. One of the major causes of tumorigenesis and subsequent metastasis involves drastic changes in gene expression. In the last decade, considerable research has been focused on dissecting the role of miRNAs, the regulatory agents which are involved in tissue-specific and temporal regulation of human genes, as well as in the initiation, dissemination, and progression of tumorigenesis and metastasis. Comparisons of expression profiles for normal tissues versus human cancers have revealed consistent differences in microRNA expression, especially changes in a specific group of miRNAs in cancerous cells. In some cases, the repression of miRNA maturation promotes tumorigenesis, whereas consistent over-expression of miRNA such as miR-21 is associated with many forms of cancer. All these indicate that miRNAs may work either as oncogenes or tumor suppressors, possibly through post-transcriptional regulation of expression of entire sets of target genes involved in tumorigenesis and metastasis. Inhibition or restoration of miRNAs has been reported to play significant roles in cancer-related events in cells promising a new generation of molecularly targeted anti-cancer therapies. These new strategies are particularly crucial for treatment of cancers and other diseases, which are not responding to conventional treatments and/or may be used as secondary treatments or in combination regimens. Therefore, inhibition or restoration of key miRNAs known to be involved in specific types or stages of cancer or other pathological status of the cells may be an effective strategy for development of novel and targeted therapies to complement conventional treatments. In addition to therapies, these key regulatory miRNAs have the potential for use as prognostic and diagnostic biomarkers in several diseases.
To highlight the importance of miRNA as a therapeutic target, in this special issue, we are interested in bringing the opinions and recent advances within this field from experts around the world. The research papers and reviews we are planning to bring in this issue will focus on, but are not limited to:
- the role of microRNAs in cellular pathogenesis
- the role of microRNAs in tumorigenesis
- microRNA as prognostic marker for the early diagnosis of cancer
- therapeutic role of microRNAs in cancer
- antagomiRs-roles and applications
- microRNA sponges-exploratory options
- microRNAs in stem cell homeostasis and differentiation
- imaging based strategies for monitoring micro-RNA biogenesis
Manuscripts for the special issue can be sent directly to the guest editor(s) by email with the subject "miRNA Special Issue", or submitted online at http://www.thno.org/ms/submit?subgroup=miRNA (mark "miRNA Special Issue" in the "Suggested reviewers" field to identify the paper).
Detailed formatting instructions, in particular, the formatting of references, can be found in http://www.thno.org/ms/author.
All inquiries should be sent to the guest editor(s) at the above email address.