Mar 20, 2010

Non-coding RNAs: a key to future personalized molecular therapy?

Genome Medicine
Marco GalassoStefano Volinia


Continual discoveries on non-coding RNA (ncRNA) have changed the landscape of human genetics and molecular biology. Over the past ten years it has become clear that ncRNAs are involved in many physiological cellular processes and contribute to molecular alterations in pathological conditions. Several classes of ncRNAs, such as small interfering RNAs, microRNAs, PIWI-associated RNAs, small nucleolar RNAs and transcribed ultra-conserved regions, are implicated in cancer, heart diseases, immune disorders, and neurodegenerative and metabolic diseases. ncRNAs have a fundamental role in gene regulation and, given their molecular nature, they are thus both emerging therapeutic targets and innovative intervention tools. Next-generation sequencing technologies (for example SOLiD or Genome Analyzer) are having a substantial role in the high-throughput detection of ncRNAs. Tools for non-invasive diagnostics now include monitoring body fluid concentrations of ncRNAs, and new clinical opportunities include silencing and inhibition of ncRNAs or their replacement and re-activation. Here we review recent progress on our understanding of the biological functions of human ncRNAs and their clinical potential.

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Mentioned in this Paper

Cardiac Carcinoma
PIWIL1 gene
Immune System Diseases
RNA, Untranslated
Human Genetics
Massively-Parallel Sequencing
Body Fluids
Metabolic Inhibition
Molecular Biology

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