The research laboratory led by Janaiah Kota, PhD, studies the patho-physiological roles of microRNAs (miRNAs).
The Kota lab is focused on understanding the pathophysiological role of microRNAs (miRNAs) in disease mechanisms associated with advanced forms of human cancers, such as pancreatic and liver cancers, and exploring their therapeutic and biomarker potential.
Previous studies from Dr. Kota’s work have provided evidence for miRNA replacement as an efficacious and non-toxic, anti-cancer therapeutic strategy (Kota et al., Cell 2009). In proof-of principle studies, the lab has demonstrated that systemic delivery via Adeno-associated Virus (rAAV) of miR-26a, a miRNA whose expression is frequently lost in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), potently suppressed tumor progression in a mouse model of HCC. Importantly, off-target effects were not observed. Currently, part of the research efforts are dedicated to study the role miR-26 in various etiologies associated with HCC and extending miRNA replacement therapy to other cancers, such as pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), a lethal form human malignancy with no effective therapies.