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IMAGE: Cell with injected hSATa RNA (left) shows a high level of a marker for DNA damage, γH2AX (middle). Merge image (right) shows satellite RNA and γH2AX in cells; DNA is… view more 

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LA JOLLA–(July 2, 2018) Only some of us have satellite TV in our homes, but all of us have satellite DNA in cells in our bodies. Working copies of satellite DNA (called satellite RNAs) are high in certain types of cancer, such as breast and ovarian. But whether they cause cancer or merely coincide with it has been unclear.

Salk scientists studying satellite RNAs discovered that a specific type called hSATa induces breast cancer by directly interfering with DNA copying and damage repair. The research, which appeared in the journal Molecular Cell on June 7, 2018, suggests that targeting satellite RNAs could provide another approach for treating multiple types of cancer, including breast, ovarian, prostate and pancreatic.

“One of the most interesting things about this work is that it shows that RNA itself is playing a role in cancer,” says Salk American Cancer Society Professor Tony Hunter, one of the senior authors. “This means that not everything in cancer is caused by aberrant proteins, and it gives

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