Development of targeting approaches specific for oncogenic ultraconserved lncRNAs in bladder cancer


Amelia Cimmino



Istituto di Genetica e Biofisica "Adriano Buzzati Traverso



My team of researchers at IGB has an extensive record of exploring the functions of a particular class of non-coding RNA (ncRNA), referred to as transcribed ultraconserved RNA (T-UCRs), which was found computationally to have a “special property” identified as unique conservation across several genomes. The starting point is to focus on T-UCRs that are most likely to have a significant influence on pathways /processes relevant to bladder carcinogenesis and those exhibit the highest level of over-expression in bladder cancer as discovered by us in our retrospective study. Our project’s goal is to establish an RNA-based antisense strategy, which may involve the use of small interfering RNAs (siRNAs), antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs), or gapmers (suitable for nuclear ncRNAs and future in vivo applications), to modulate the expression of relevant, yet underutilized, oncogenic T-UCRs transcripts.

Our ultimate objective is the preclinical evaluation of a siRNA and a modified human ferritin heavy chain (HFt) complex. Together with Dr. P. Ceci, we want to enhance a method for effectively bind small molecules (siRNA, ASO, etc.) to human ferritin in order to target carcinogenic T-UCRs and deliver RNA-based therapeutics to cancer cells selectively.


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PI: Stefania Bortoluzzi