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Inhibition of Ovarian Cancer by microRNA-mediated Regulation of Telomerase

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Annual rept. 1 May 2008-30 Apr 2009

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A hallmark of ovarian cancer is its limitless proliferative potential which is governed in part by elevated levels of human telomerase hTERT or telomerase activity. However, how telomerase can be regulated in normal cells, and how this regulation can be lost during cancer progression, is not completely understood. microRNAs miRNAs are evolutionarily conserved, small, non-coding, single-stranded, 19-23 nucleotide RNA molecules that are estimated to negatively regulate protein encoding genes including those related to cancer development. The objective of this proposal is to determine whether telomerase hTERT is negatively regulated by microRNAs in normal ovarian surface epithelial cells and whether the expression of these microRNAs is lost during ovarian cancer progression. Using bioinformatics and databases of microRNAs, we identified putative microRNAs for hTERT. We correlated these microRNAs with their expression in normal up and cancerous down ovarian tissue. This correlation led to a microRNA short-list of potential hits to test for their effect on telomerase activity in ovarian cancer cells. Current studies include validating this list and the long-term effects on cancer cell growth. Telomerase inhibition by microRNAs can thus lead to new therapy as well as understanding how ovarian cancer progresses from normal, early, then to late stage.

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  • Medicine and Medical Research

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