Cancer-specific long non-coding RNAs as novel biomarkers and targets for therapy

Pieter Mestdagh 1,
1Ghent University, Belgium 

Until recently, it was believed that only a small fraction of the genome contained relevant information, used by the cell to pro- duce proteins. The majority was referred to as ‘junk DNA’ with no obvious function throughout life. The introduction of mas- sively parallel RNA-sequencing technology has drastically changed that view. Today, there’s ample evidence demonstrating that the majority of the genome is transcribed, producing non-coding RNA (ncRNA) transcripts that differ in size, shape, expression and func- tion. The bulk of the non-coding transcriptome consists of so-called long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs). These lncRNAs are character- ized by an exquisite tissue-specificity of lncRNAs which makes them extremely attractive as targets for therapeutic intervention or biomarkers for disease diagnosis and treatment response moni- toring.

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