Restoring p53 function in mouse tumors in vivo causes tumors to shrink, according to three new reports published in Nature and Cell. The studies, two of which were published this week, demonstrate that tumor maintenance requires continued absence of p53 activity, and suggest that restoring p53 may shrink human cancers, as well. However, as with most cancer therapies, the tumor finds a way around the body's defenses, and in one study, tumors returned after they had regressed following p53 restoration."All three studies all have the same fundamental observation: When you reactivate p53 the tumors all regress, and this is good news because it suggests that targeting mechanisms that reactivate p53 function would be a worthy point of attack for cancer drugs," Ron DePinho, American Cancer Society Research Professor at Harvard Medical School, told The Scientist. DePinho wrote a News & Views article in Nature about the three...

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