It has become apparent over the last decade that a class of molecules called long noncoding RNAs (lncRNA), which were originally thought to be ‘junk’ in mammalian cells, play a major role in controlling gene expression and disease. 

We have recently identified a lncRNA, MAFG-AS1, which is increased in many types of cancers compared with normal tissues, suggesting that increases in MAFG-AS1 may be a genetic anomaly occurring during cancer development and progression regardless of the cancer type.

In this project, we will use colon cancer as a model to investigate the functional significance of MAFG-AS1 in cancer and to reveal the mechanisms by which MAFG-AS1 can promote cancer growth. We will test this in cancer cells grown in the laboratory and models.

The results from this project will potentially identify MAFG-AS1 upregulation as a driving event in cancer development and progression (not only in colon cancer), define MAFG-AS1 as a diagnostic and prognostic biomarker in multiple types of cancers, and develop a strategy for targeting MAFG-AS1 as a means for the treatment of cancer.

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