George Calin, MD Discusses Promising Research on Small RNAs in Treating Cancers

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Dr. George Calin holds M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from Carol Davila University of Medicine in Bucharest, Romania. He completed cancer genomics training at the University of Ferrara in Italy and was a post-doctor fellow at the Kimmel Center in Pennsylvania. The focus of his work is exploring new RNA therapeutic options for cancer patients.

Click on play to learn:

  • Why research on non-coding RNAs is important and what makes them special.
  • How studies of ultraconserved gene sequences led to the discovery of distinct signatures in human cancers.
  • How combinatorial therapeutics for small RNAs shows promise in treating cancers.

Dr. Calin is the Principal Investigator at the Calin Laboratory at MD Anderson. He is currently working on all aspects of molecular biology and biomarkers with a focus on deadly cancers such as ovarian, gastric, colon, pancreatic, and cholangiocarcinoma.

It has become evident in recent cancer research that the genomic complexity of cancer cells is more significant than originally assumed. For more than 30 years, the focus was on the development and testing of new gene therapy strategies involving protein-coding genes. The research done by Dr. Calin and his colleagues has led to the concept that small non-coding RNAs knowns as microRNA genes (miRNAs) are involved in the production of human tumors. His research also showed that another family of ncRNAs, ultraconserved genes (UCGs) plays a role in cancer initiation, progression, and the mechanisms of a predisposition to cancer.

Looking to the future, the results of the studies of miRNAs and ncRNAs has led to the possibilities of combinatorial therapeutics that are customized for a specific cancer patient. Dr. Calin believes that there is a strong need to focus on the early diagnosis of cancer which has the potential to increase the survival of cancer patients significantly.

To learn more visit: mdanderson.org/research Episode also available on Apple Podcasts: apple.co/30PvU9C

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