Just as your home has a security system to protect against invaders, so has your body. This bodily security system is a process of shutting down genes known as gene silencing, and can fight both external invaders, such as viruses, and internal dysfunctions, such as those that lead to cancer.
Gene silencing is based on microRNAs, a class of RNA. Recent developments in biochemistry techniques allow researchers to create artificial microRNAs and introduce them in cells. Drs. François Major (Université de Montréal) and Thomas Duchaine (McGill University) are developing computational tools to identify the genes involved in specific diseases and design treatments based on microRNAs that can silence a set of predetermined genes simultaneously. Once developed, the software will be available to the scientific community through easy-to-use web-interfaces and applications.