A human-specific incRNA linked to cell immortality

The objective of these studies is to generate a more complete mechanistic understanding of the role IncRNAs in cancer cell immortality and produce additional preliminary data in order to successfully pursue national level funding. Specifically, we wish to expand our current studies on the functional role of the long noncoding RNA, MORT, and to clarify its potential role as a guardian of the mortal cell phenotype.

Immortality is an essential characteristic of human cancer cells; however, the mechanisms involved in converting a mortal, finite lifespan cell into an immortal cell are incompletely understood. Elucidating a deeper and more complete understanding of the mechanisms of cancer cell immortality can have direct translational impact on the detection, prevention, and treatment of human cancer, and could provide new insights into the mechanisms of cell aging and senescence. Hence, understanding the strict regulation of the process of cell immortalization is a potential keystone to understanding human cancer and longevity.