News of the WeekCancer Research

Bracing p53 for the War on Cancer

Science  24 Dec 1999:
Vol. 286, Issue 5449, pp. 2431
DOI: 10.1126/science.286.5449.2431

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The tumor suppressor protein p53 helps short-circuit tumor formation by preventing cells that have suffered malignant mutations from continuing to grow. Yet the p53 gene itself is susceptible to damage, which is thought to contribute to the development of half of all cancers, including common ones such as skin, breast, and colon cancers. Now, in work described on page 2507, cancer biologists have identified a drug that may be able to restore the normal function of some mutated p53 proteins and might therefore point the way to a new kind of cancer therapy.