RNA editing study shows potential for more effective precision cancer treatment

IMAGE: This is Han Liang, Ph.D. view more 

Credit: MD Anderson Cancer Center

If there is one thing all cancers have in common, it is they have nothing in common. A multi-center study led by The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center has shed light on why proteins, the seedlings that serve as the incubator for many cancers, can vary from cancer to cancer and even patient to patient, a discovery that adds to a growing base of knowledge important for developing more effective precision therapies.

Findings from the study, led by Han Liang, Ph.D., associate professor of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, and Gordon Mills, M.D., Ph.D., chair of Systems Biology, were published in the April 26 online issue of Cancer Cell.

Liang’s and Mills’ team discovered how a particular type of RNA editing called adenosine to inosine (A-to-I) RNA plays a key role in protein variation in cancer cells. RNA editing is the process by which genetic information is altered in the RNA molecule. Once thought rare in humans and other vertebrates, RNA editing is now recognized as widespread in the human genome.

Since cancer can arise from vastly different protein types and mutations, the promise of


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