target tumore

Fight Against Cancer: The Discovery of a New Target Involved in the Tumoral progression

The research, conducted by the "Charles Darwin" Department of Biology and Biotechnology at Sapienza in collaboration with the Italian Institute of Technology, has identified a specific circular RNA with a crucial role in the development of rhabdomyosarcoma, a childhood tumor that affects skeletal muscle. The research, which opens up new perspectives for the treatment of cancer, has been published in the journal Oncogene

The discovery that circular RNAs (circRNA) are involved in the modulation of numerous physiological processes justifies the growing interest in the study of this class of information macromolecules.

The circRNA have only recently been identified thanks to the developement of technologies more perceptible to the RNA sequencing, but still much is unknown about their specific function, even though this scientific discovery has opened new research perspectives.

A new study by the Department of Biology and Biotechnology "Charles Darwin", in collaboration with the Center for Life Nano Science of the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT), has demonstrated the role of a specific circular RNA in the control of tumor cell proliferation. The results of the research, supported by an Advanced Grant ERC project and by the Telethon Foundation, have been published in the journal Oncogene.

By observing the behavior of this class of RNA in the formation of muscle cells, the team of researchers led by Irene Bozzoni, from Sapienza University identified within the circ-ZNF609 species an important role in the regulation of the proliferation of muscle cells.

"The presence of this molecule," explains Irene Bozzoni, "is greatly increased in rhabdomyosarcoma, a pediatric tumor that develops from skeletal muscle cells. Our studies have indicated that circ-ZNF609 controls the development of cancer cells and that the reduction of its expression leads to a significant slowing of tumor growth."

The researchers then identified the main signaling pathways involved in this regulation - the set of processes that make up a signal for the cell that receives them and which then translates into changes or alterations - and therefore in which phases intervene to block the mechanism.

"By demonstrating that this circular RNA molecule represents a new target for counteracting tumor growth,"  concludes Bozzoni, "we have added an important element to the understanding of the molecular processes involved in the biology of tumors."



Circ-ZNF609 regulates G1-S progression in rhabdomyosarcoma - Francesca Rossi, Ivano Legnini, Francesca Megiorni, Alessio Colantoni, Tiziana Santini, Mariangela Morlando, Gaia Di Timoteo, Dario Dattilo, Carlo Dominici & Irene Bozzoni - Oncogene, 22 January 2019. DOI:


Further Information

Irene Bozzoni
Department of Biology and Biotechnology "Charles Darwin", Sapienza University of Rome

Thursday, 31 January 2019

© Sapienza Università di Roma - Piazzale Aldo Moro 5, 00185 Roma - (+39) 06 49911 - CF 80209930587 PI 02133771002