Heidi Schwarzenbach

Clinical Implementation of MicroRNAs in Cancer Immunology

  • Pharmacology

MicroRNAs (miRNAs), or small non-coding RNAs, modulate the expression of mRNAs and, consequently, a variety of signal transduction pathways. Due to their dysregulation in cancer, they exert oncogenic pressure and have an impact on the immune system with their protective functions. These immunosuppressive characteristics of miRNAs in cancer promote cancer progression and metastasis, causing the dysregulation of immune cells and the immune escape of tumor cells. In contrast, there are also tumor suppressor miRNAs that are able to activate the immune system. Therefore, studies on the altered expression of miRNAs that consider both the oncogenic and tumor-suppressive aspects of miRNAs have become an important research field for advancing immunotherapeutic interventions using miRNAs or their inhibitors as therapeutics. In the current review, their potential in the immunomodulation of immune cells and their use as immune stimulatory molecules to elicit specific cytotoxic responses against the tumor are discussed.

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