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Tiny RNAs discovered in “junk” DNA play an important role in controlling gene function, Yale scientists reported in the journal Nature in October.

Yale Medicine Magazine, 2008 - Spring


Yale researchers have engineered a virus that can find its way through the vascular system and kill deadly brain tumors, offering a potential new treatment for cancers in the brain.

Such malignant brain tumors as glioblastomas and metastatic tumors are diagnosed in 22,000 Americans each year. There is no cure for these malignancies. They often kill within months; current treatments usually fail because they don’t kill all the cancer cells.

Anthony N. van den Pol, Ph.D., professor of neurosurgery, and colleagues reported in the Journal of Neuroscience in February that they had transplanted multiple types of human and mouse tumors into the brains of mice and then inoculated the mice with a lab-created vesicular stomatitis virus known as vsvrp30a, a distant cousin of the rabies virus. Three days later, the tumors had been infected by the virus and “were dying or dead,” while transplanted normal cells were spared, van den Pol said. “This underlines the virus’ potential therapeutic value against multiple types of brain cancers.”

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