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Parts of the human RNA that are not translated into proteins may still have an important function. As SVEN DIEDERICHS explains in this video, the occurrence of the RNA gene Malat-1 makes the difference between lung cancer with and without metastasis. By first identifying Malat-1 as the molecular difference between patients and then silencing this RNA gene, it was found that Malat-1 could be a viable target to suppress development of metastasis in lung cancer therapy.


Sven Diederichs is Group Leader of the division ‘Cancer Research’ at the Clinic for Thoracic Surgery, at the Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg, Germany.

Diederichs spent three years (2005-2008) as a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School, working at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Centre. For his research on cancer, Diederichs was awarded several prizes, including the 2014 Liver Cancer Research Award of the German Society for Gastrointestinal Diseases and Bayer Health Care and the Dr. Hella Bühler Prize in 2013. Diederichs’ specific interest lies in how the RNA gene Malat-1 can determine the occurrence of lung cancer with or without metastasis.


Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg (Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg)

Founded in the 15th century, the University of Freiburg has a long-standing reputation of excellence in academic teaching and research. Among the most renowned university members were the philosophers Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger, the economist Walter Eucken, and such Nobel Prize winners as Hans Spemann, Hermann Staudinger, Georg von Hevesy, Friedrich August von Hayek and George Köhler. Today, with its mixture of traditional subjects and modern technology, the University of Freiburg is flourishing more than ever. The university and its hospital employ more than 19,000 staff members. Organized according to the classical model of a comprehensive university, it provides 25,000 students with a broad range of subjects – from applied information technology, the entire spectrum of medical specialities and natural sciences to the fields of humanities and social sciences. Freiburg’s research and teaching policies aim to overcome the barriers between individual disciplines to create opportunities for new perspectives on complex problems. By supporting collaborative research projects across boundaries and implementing centers of knowledge and interdisciplinary graduate colleges, the university provides the disciplines an effective means by which to benefit from each other’s knowledge. An added benefit that comes with such flexibility is an increased international interest for our university: We are pleased to have a significant number of scientists and students from all over the world, whose culture-specific views of scientific procedures and research approaches enrich the dialog with their German counterparts. 16% of the student body are from foreign countries. The general international exchange of scientific results and experiences also plays an important role at the University of Freiburg. More than 300 partner universities and programs on five continents, together with the alumni association, form a first-class international network. (Source: University of Freiburg)
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Original publication

The Noncoding RNA MALAT1 Is a Critical Regulator of the Metastasis Phenotype of Lung Cancer Cells

Gutschner Tony, Hämmerle Monika, Eißmann Moritz, Hsu Jeff, Kim Youngsoo, Hung Gene, Revenko Alexey, Arun Gayatri, Stentrup Marion, Groß Matthias, Martin Zörnig, A. Robert MacLeod, David L. Spector et al
Cancer Research
Published in 2013

MALAT-1, a Novel Noncoding RNA, and Thymosin β4 Predict Metastasis and Survival in Early-Stage Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Diederichs Sven, Ji Ping, Wang Wenbing, Böing Sebastian, Metzger Ralf, Tidow Nicola, Brandt Burkhard, Buerger Horst, Bulk Etmar, Michael Thomas, Hubert Serve, Carsten Müller-Tidow, Schneider Paul M. et al
Published in 2003

Noncoding RNA Gene Silencing Through Genomic Integration of RNA Destabilizing Elements Using Zinc Finger Nucleases

Gutschner Tony, Baas Marion and Diederichs Sven
Genome Research
Published in 2011

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The Hallmarks of Cancer: A Long Non-Coding RNA Point of View

Gutschner Tony and Diederichs Sven
RNA Biology
Published in 2012