Long Noncoding RNA: Understanding the Dark Matter of the Genome in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer
This project is a collaboration between the Dynlacht Lab and NYU Langone’s Perlmutter Cancer Center.
Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a diverse group of invasive cancers characterized by low levels of estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, and HER2 protein. There are six different types of TNBC. Overall, TNBC is associated with poor survival rates. Currently, there is no targeted therapy available for TNBC, in part because it is a highly heterogeneous disease, and the genes that drive their malignant behavior ("molecular drivers") for individual tumors are not known.
Research in the Dynlacht Lab is focused on understanding the function and potential clinical applications of long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) in TNBC. LncRNAs are RNA molecules greater than 200 nucleotides in length that are not translated into proteins, which are the building blocks of life. We believe lncRNAs play important roles in the initiation and progression of TNBC.
Our first objective is to identify lncRNAs that act as "molecular drivers" in TNBC, and determine how their expression affects the growth of TNBC cells in the laboratory. Our second objective is to discover how key lncRNAs control the malignant behavior of TNBC. We will study the consequences of lncRNA expression on multiple pathways relevant to breast cancer biology, chromatin modifications, and drug resistance in TNBC cells.
LncRNAs are attractive biomarkers because of their tissue-specific and cancer-specific expression patterns. We believe understanding the function of lncRNAs may open new avenues for translational research and drug development. Our work harnesses the complementary expertise of two laboratories with considerable experience in clinical aspects of breast cancer as well as gene regulation and cell cycle control.
Our research will lead to a better understanding of TNBC biology. Potential novel applications of this new knowledge include the development of genomic tests for early detection and prognosis, as well as novel targeted therapies.