Are Anti-Sense Oligonucleotides a Cure for Cancer ?
When DNA is transcribed to mRNA in the nucleus of human cells, the mRNA; minus the introns, makes a complete complement of the DNA so that it may travel to the ribosomes of the rough endoplasmic reticulum and translate the mRNA sequence into proteins. The mRNA is read by one terminus of the tRNA molecule three bases at a time. On the other terminus of the tRNA molecule is an amino acid. So as the complementary bases of the tRNA molecule’s anti-codon reads the base sequence of the mRNA, amino acids are joined together by peptide linkages to form peptides and then proteins. When a cancer causing protein is manufactured, it may be because an altered DNA sequence was transcribed to mRNA and subsequently translated. The way anti-sense oligonucleotide therapy works is to block the transcription of DNA sequences that would otherwise encode cancer causing proteins by binding out the altered, cancer causing DNA sequences with complementary nucleotides that would not be translated to protein. Still in its introductory stages, it is impossible if this type of gene therapy will be the cure for human cancer. But, it makes sense.
It has already been proven that various sequences of DNA, mostly oncogenes, increase the incidence of cancer. Can these genes cause malignant cancers in otherwise healthy individuals is still debatable. Many oncologists believe that cancer in humans is a multi-hit process. In other words, they believe that cancer comes about in their patients for a variety of reasons all occurring simultaneously. However, if even one of these factors that cause cancer are oncogenes, or for that matter any change in the human DNA sequence that encodes cancer causing proteins, it stands to reason that the binding out of these DNA sequences would help prevent cancer in the future.