Some potential cancer therapies may do more harm than good: A class of compounds intended to boost tumor suppressor p53 activity may actually promote mutant versions of the gene, a linkurl:study;http://www.genesdev.org/cgi/content/abstract/22/10/1337 published tomorrow in Genes and Development reports. p53, the tumor suppressor found in roughly half of all human cancers, works by signaling cell death, thus keeping cell growth in check. But p53 can be deleted during transcription or mutated by missense mutations. When mutated, it expresses deleterious proteins that spur tumorigenesis, and researchers have assumed these mutations are stable. If deleterious proteins in the tumor aren't detectable, researchers generally conclude that the p53 gene has been deleted. The new study, led by linkurl:Guillermina Lozano,;http://gsbs.uth.tmc.edu/tutorial/lozano.html from MD Anderson Cancer Center, shows that this assumption is incorrect. The researchers used knockin mice to demonstrate that in some cases, missense mutations in p53 can indeed produce harmful proteins, but in other cases...
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