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Press Release 10-160

These Cells Will Self-Destruct in Five ... Four ...

New treatment activates death program in cancer cells

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Illustration of small conditional RNAs and cellular machinery.

Small conditional RNAs selectively kill cancer cells. In lab-grown human brain, prostate and bone cancer cells, small conditional RNAs (light and dark blue) bind to a targeted RNA cancer mutation (orange and green), triggering self-assembly of a long double-stranded RNA polymer that activates an innate immune response (gray turns to red) leading to cell death. No measurable reduction in numbers is observed for cells lacking targeted cancer mutations.

Credit: Image courtesy of Suvir Venkataraman, William M. Clemons, Jr. and Niles A. Pierce (Caltech)


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This video illustrates how small conditional RNAs can target and kill individual cancer cells.

Credit: National Science Foundation