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Developing a new therapeutic for childhood cancer

The University of New South Wales Sydney

  • RNA Future Leaders Program
Date Funded:
  • 3 August, 2021
Chief Investigator/s:
  • Associate Professor Irina Voineagu
  • Associate Professor Irina Voineagu

Project Summary

Development of circular RNA sponges with anti-tumour effect in the childhood cancer neuroblastoma.

The main researcher for this project is Scientia Associate Professor Irina Voineagu.

What is the issue for NSW?

Neuroblastoma is a childhood cancer with high mortality rate for the aggressive type of tumours (high risk neuroblastoma). The Children’s Cancer Institute and the Kids Cancer Centre, Sydney Children’s Hospital are key players in the Zero Childhood Cancer Program, aiming to develop new therapies and improve the outcomes of children with cancer.

What does the research aim to do and how?

This project aims to harness the unique biological properties of a novel class of RNA molecules, circular RNAs, to restore the activity of tumour suppressor genes in neuroblastoma cells. This goal will be achieved by engineering circular RNA sponges, that will promote the degradation of certain miRNAs – small RNA molecules produced in excess in neuroblastoma cells, due to a cancer-causing DNA alteration.