Houston (PTI): In a major breakthrough, which can dramatically increase survival chances of ovarian cancer patients, an Indian-American scientist has identified two proteins whose presence increases the median survival rate by 11 years in patients with the disease.
A study of nearly 250 ovarian cancer patients by Dr Anil Sood, MD, professor in the departments of Gynecologic Oncology and Cancer Biology at MD Anderson, along with other researchers, found that woman with high levels of two proteins named dicer and drosha in their tumor cells had a median survival rate of 11 years.
While, in patients with low levels of one or both proteins about 40 percent of those studied had a median survival of less than three years. Sood's discovery marks a significant advance for an emerging area of basic science called RNA interference, which one day may transform medicine.
"What's important is that dicer and drosha are critical to the process of RNA interference," Anil Sood said. "RNA interference has only been known for about a decade. The components of the machinery, what it does in cancer, and how it affects outcomes and therapy are not fully known," Sood said.
Potential clinical applications include using levels of the proteins as prognostic indicators to guide treatment decisions and eventually to exploit RNA interference to attack tumors, Sood said.