Brothers in Arms Against Cancer

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Science  25 Mar 2011:
Vol. 331, Issue 6024, pp. 1551-1552
DOI: 10.1126/science.331.6024.1551

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The tumor-suppressor protein p53 has been dubbed "the guardian of the genome." Few nonspecialists know that the celebrated p53 is closely related to two other proteins, p63 and p73. Yet these unheralded siblings are grabbing the attention of cancer biologists. New research suggests that p63 and p73 are fierce cancer killers that deserve equal billing with p53. Because efforts to exploit p53 in cancer therapies haven't yet paid off, some researchers are now looking to p73 and p63 as alternative tumor treatments. Researchers have shrunk or prevented tumors in animals by targeting p73, and the first clinical trials—attempting to use p73 to combat a hard-to-treat type of breast cancer—have already started.