Dr. Bin Guo, associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences at North Dakota State University, recently received a $1.35 million research grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop a targeted treatment for colorectal cancer.
Dr. Guo’s research began by exploring the role of vitamin D in colorectal cancer. His team studied genes that are regulated by vitamin D, and eventually discovered a vitamin D activated micro ribonucleic acid, also known as a microRNA, that suppresses colorectal cancer.
Dr. Guo stated, “We found that this specific microRNA, miR-627, is the only one that is activated by vitamin D. If we can deliver it into the cells, then we can stop the cancer.”
According to Guo, the main challenge is that the microRNAs are delicate and easily damaged. Guo and team will be working on creating a highly stable platform to deliver the microRNA into cancerous cells.
North Dakota State University President Dean L. Brescdiani described the importance of Dr. Guo’s work. He stated, “It’s one more example of how serious our scientists are about finding solutions that make a difference in people’s lives.”