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Researchers Link Edited RNA to High-Risk Multiple Myeloma

Kenneth D. Nahum

For more than 30 years, Dr. Kenneth D. Nahum has been working as an oncologist and hematologist. During this time, he has treated thousands of patients and earned numerous awards. Dr. Kenneth D. Nahum has also served as the principal and co-investigator for drug studies on multiple myeloma (MM).

The second most common type of blood cancer, MM is characterized by healthy cells being forced out of the bone marrow by cancer cells. Traditionally, studies into the condition have focused on DNA abnormalities. However, researchers from the Cancer Science Institute of Singapore recently found a link between abnormalities in RNA (ribonucleic acid, which is present in all living cells) and the progression of MM.
In recent years, the survival rate of people with MM has significantly improved. Still, 10 percent to 15 percent of patients are classified as high-risk and have low survival rates despite treatment with drug therapies. This happens because high-risk MM develops a resistance to most drug treatments.
According to researchers, the abnormal modification of MM RNA promotes the progression of the disease in a couple of ways. First, it elevates ADAR1, an enzyme responsible for editing RNA, which causes myeloma cancer cells to develop unusually strong properties. Second, NEIL1, a gene associated with colorectal cancer and lung cancer, is irregularly edited by MM RNA and loses its normal ability to repair damaged DNA.

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