Updated on 14 September 2016
Singapore: A team of researchers from the Cancer Science Institute of Singapore (CSI Singapore) at the National University of Singapore (NUS) has found that changes in ribonucleic acid (RNA) sequences play a major role in the development of gastric cancer. Further research into this novel driving force for gastric cancer may potentially contribute towards early detection of gastric cancer and better treatment of the deadly disease.
Specifically, the research team discovered that proteins ADAR1 and ADAR2, which are involved in the editing of RNA, could potentially be used as a biomarkers to detect disorder leading to gastric cancer. The study also suggested that measuring the editing levels in patient gastric samples, which can be obtained through a simple biopsy, particularly at the pre-malignant stage, may help in identifying individuals at risk for subsequent gastric cancer development.
Findings of the study, which was led by Assistant Professor Polly Chen and Professor Patrick Tan from CSI Singapore, were first published in scientific journal Gastroenterology in June 2016.
Uncovering the role of RNA editing in gastric cancer
RNA is an intermediate product between deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and the protein coded by DNA. During RNA's involvement as a messenger, it is subjected to a multitude of changes - also known as RNA editing - resulting in haywire transmission of information from DNA, and leading to an altered gene product with cancer-causing qualities.