Researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot,Israel, have used antisense technology to identify a gene thatsuppresses tumor cell growth.

The scientists propose in today's issue of Science that thetechnique, called Technical Knock Out, or TKO, may be used as arapid screen to identify tumor suppressor genes.

Louis P. Deiss and Adi Kimchi used TKO to identify thioredoxinas a protein that overcomes the ability of interferon-gamma, ananti-tumor agent, to block cell growth.

TKO involves transfecting cells with a complementary DNAlibrary that encodes antisense RNA molecules. Cells receivingDNA encoding an antisense tumor suppressor gene will grow ina cancer-like fashion due to the antisense RNA's ability tointerfere with the tumor suppressor expression.

Dr. Arthur Bruskin, manager of cancer research at AppliedbioTechnology Inc., which develops tumor suppressor-baseddiagnostics and therapeutics, said the technique may be usefulfor isolating some kinds of tumor suppressor genes. He addedthat the technique is clever because scientists have a positivecharacteristic (cell growth) to detect.

Dr. Michael Riordan, president of Gilead Sciences Inc., whichdevelops antisense and triple-helix-based therapeutics, saidTKO may be a powerful technique for identifying genes thatplay a role in transformation.

-- Carol Talkington Verser, Ph.D. Special to BioWorld

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