The Link Between MiRNAs and Thyroid Cancer

My husband was diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer in 2011 and underwent a thyroidectomy in January. It was followed by sessions of Radioiodine Ablation. The operation and the subsequent treatments have not been easy on us. It has been an eye opener to how much many of us take our health for granted. Now that my husband has to take a cocktail of medications to regulate his metabolism and make up for the paralysis of his parathyroid – an after math of the operation, I realize life can do a 360 on any person, there is no guarantee of our health unless we make a conscious effort to stay healthy. While I can make a conscious effort to stay healthy and avoid certain conditions, what is my defense against something for which there is no known cause? My husband and I were caught unaware when he was diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer, because there is no indicated cause of Thyroid Cancer. It is widely believed that thyroid cancer arises when cells in the thyroid undergo genetic changes (mutations). It is this fact that drew my attention and interest to the article ‘Role of Micro RNA identified in Thyroid Cancer’ on

The article discusses the discovery of the role of micro RNA (miRNA) in the development of Cancer. miRNAs are genetic material that are about 22 nucleotides long as opposed to genes that comprise tens of thousands of nucleotides. They were earlier considered insignificant however this article opens up the possibility of determining the causes of thyroid cancer and possible ways to eliminate gene mutations in future generations with the help of miRNA. My husband and I would not want to pass on any such mutations to our children/ grand-children. It has been found that 23 miRNAs in cancerous tissue are significantly over-expressed as compared to normal tissues. The miRNA’s form a signature with the 23 miRNAs and some scientists believe that the miRNAs act like tissue or tumor specific onco-genes and promote cell growth.

It is one year since the operation and my husband is going through more testing to determine if the cancer is making a comeback. We look forward to any developments or information in this field. The American Cancer Society estimates the diagnosis of about 25,000 new cases of Thyroid Cancer this year and the identification of the role of miRNAs will go a long way in developing new methods of diagnosis and treatment for the same. We await more news on similar research initiatives and hope there is a treatment that can make my husband and I lead a normal life again.



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