Tuesday, April 19, 2016

RNA Makes More Than Just Proteins

             For years now, PSA and PCA3 may be miss leading researchers in the wrong direction for accurate results dealing with prostate cancer. It wasn't until a German study presented by Friedman Horn, at the University of Leipzig and Manfred Wirth, a professor at the University of Dresden, conducted a new method to detect prostate cancer. Although PSA and PCA3 have been a commonly used biomarker for testing prostate cancer, unfortunately their results are not as accurate as this new RNA designed test. This new study identified a series of non-coding RNAs that could be combined into a urine test, thus making the screening more reliable.
            Genomic science has been solving complicated mysteries of the human body, thus making it less complicated for diseases to be cured. RNA is one of the most useful genetic molecules because it helps read and translate DNA to make proteins. Previously, scientists thought the RNA that could not make proteins, also known as non-coding RNA, was of no use, but now after researching the non-coding RNA functions, we can see it does far more. During their study researchers took 64 prostate cancer tissues and read about 2 million sequences from each sample. There were 2000 sequences that were divided into cancer tissues and healthy tissues. Of the 2000 sequences there were a good amount of non-coding RNAs that better established a more specific prostate marker than regular RNA molecules. These RNA molecules were also found in urine samples of cancer patients. On the other hand one of the non-coding RNA called TAPIR showed evidence for stopping cancer growth.
          Researcher’s next steps are to work on developing specific and sensitive urine tests that will use a combination of biomarkers instead of just one. While this new test is still a work in progress, researchers have high hopes that shortly we will have an easier way to detect prostate cancer quicker and more efficiently. 
           In my opinion, it is very important to research and discuss all the possible functions our body’s molecules can do. Through assuming that non-coding RNA molecules have no use, scientists have pro longed the wait in making a better test for detecting prostate cancer. In order for this to happen in the near future, researchers need to be more open and creative in the way they observe the functions of certain molecules. On the contrary, this test has opened a new door to more efficient ways for testing cancer, and hopefully can help detect other cancers other than prostate cancer in the future. We will continue to see a great leap in genetic research as scientists take the time to understand fully all the functions of our complicated human body.

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