Copies of repetitive DNA sequences called satellite RNAs are high in certain types of cancer, such as breast and ovarian. But whether they cause cancer or merely coincide with it has been unclear. First author and former Salk postdoctoral researcher Quan Zhu, Professor Tony Hunter and colleagues discovered that a specific type of satellite RNA, called hSATa, induces breast cancer by directly interfering with DNA copying and repair. The research suggests that targeting satellite RNAs could provide another approach for treating multiple types of cancer, including breast, ovarian, prostate and pancreatic.Read News Release
Salk scientists shed light on breast cancer
Professor Geoffrey Wahl, first author Raj Giraddi and collaborators used cutting-edge techniques to generate an atlas of the genes expressed in each breast cell from very early in development until adulthood. They used this “single-cell-transcriptome atlas” to compare genes expressed in human breast cancers, which led to an understanding of how the stem cells of the breast arise in early development as well as provided insight into the reprogramming of adult cells into states associated with cancer.Read News Release
New method of pinpointing cancer mutations could lead to more-targeted treatments
Cancer cells often have DNA mutations that can give scientists clues about how the cancer started or which treatment may be most effective. Finding these mutations can be difficult, but a new method may offer more complete, comprehensive results. Helmsley-Salk Fellow Jesse Dixon and collaborators have developed a new framework that can combine three existing methods of finding these large mutations—called structural variants—into a single, more complete picture. The new method could help researchers find structural variations within cancer cells’ DNA and learn more about how those cancers begin.Read News Release
- Salk’s New ExplorersLike people, institutions move forward generation by generation. The Salk Institute’s first group of scientists included founder Jonas Salk, famous for developing the first effective and safe polio vaccine; and Renato Dulbecco, who demonstrated how viruses can cause cancer and who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1975.
- A matter of timeSalk Professor Satchidananda (Satchin) Panda runs his life like clockwork. Most mornings, if he’s not traveling, he wakes up around 6 a.m. without an alarm. One of the first things he does is go out to his backyard to check on his provisions for wild birds.
- Driven to SucceedFrom once being a schoolboy sitting on the floor of a rural classroom with no electricity, to now being a breast cancer researcher in the laboratory of Geoffrey Wahl, Raj Giraddi’s deep and abiding interest in biological research has always driven him forward.