Turning off genes — mapping a new approach to cancer?

What an idea. Trying to head cancer off early by stepping backwards on the map that shows the process by which it develops, scientists are looking at stopping gene expression. They’ve discovered that synthetic peptide nucleic acids (PNAs) or RNAs can interact directly with genomic DNA and block the expression of genes.

“Antigene agents recognize genomic DNA when its guard is down. Single-stranded DNA is exposed momentarily when RNA polymerase initiates transcription by opening an approximately 20-base-pair segment of double-stranded genomic DNA, resulting in a transcription start-site structure called the ‘open complex.’ Antigene agents of complementary sequence interact with one of the open complex’s single DNA strands, causing transcription and gene expression to be blocked.
Because every gene has a transcription start site, the technique may be widely applicable. So far, Corey and coworkers have been able to inhibit the expression of nine genes (of nine tested) in cancer cells.”

Another avenue of investigation that may one day lead us to where we can eliminate the prehistoric and cruel approach to treating cancer that we call chemotherapy.