ISTOCK, SELVANEGRA
Acetylation
ISTOCK, SELVANEGRA
Acetylation

Acetylation

 In March 1996, a laboratory from the University of Rochester announced the discovery of an enzyme integral to unlocking the still-mysterious intricacies of DNA transcription and gene activation, the most basic of cellular processes.

Eugene Russo
Mar 1, 1999

Edited by: Eugene Russo

Editor's Note:  It's an excellent example of how good medicine often relies on the most fundamental, though seemingly obscure, details of hard-core basic research: In March 1996, a laboratory from the University of Rochester announced the discovery of an enzyme integral to unlocking the still-mysterious intricacies of DNA transcription and gene activation, the most basic of cellular processes. A month later, a laboratory at Harvard University, acting completely independently, reported the discovery of a second key enzyme that seemed to have an equally important but opposite effect. Three months ago, researchers from the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center reported that they'd treated a 13-year-old girl suffering from acute promyelocytic leukemia with a novel therapy based on the inhibition of one of these enzymes. Within 23 days, the treatment had triggered an almost complete remission of her cancer, a cancer that had been unresponsive to numerous other treatments....