Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Tapping p53 to kill cancer cells more effectively while sparing normal cells

Date:
October 11, 2010
Source:
Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore
Summary:
A new finding by researchers in Singapore makes a unique method of cancer treatment now feasible. Their work offers new insight on how to tap on the properties of p53, the "guardian of the genome," to kill cancer cells more effectively while sparing normal cells.

A finding by researchers from the p53 Laboratory of Singapore's Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), makes a unique method of cancer treatment now feasible. Their work, published online in the journal Cell Death and Differentiation, offers new insight on how to tap on the properties of p53, the 'guardian of the genome' , to kill cancer cells more effectively while sparing normal cells.

Related Articles


The researchers, led by Dr Cheok Chit Fang and Prof David Lane, the co-discoverer of the p53 gene in 1979, achieved this by exploiting one of the key functions of p53 -- the control of the cell cycle. Activating p53 halts the cell cycle and prevents endoreduplication, a process by which a cell accumulates excess genetic material by duplicating its existing genetic material without actually dividing. If endoreduplication happens in human cells, they die. Deliberately inducing endoreduplication in cancer cells through chemical means has been explored as a means of killing off cancer cells. However, as the drugs used are not highly specific to cancer cells, many normal cells are also killed in the process.

Fortunately, in many cancers, the cancer cells lack working copies of p53. By using a drug that activates p53 in healthy cells and temporarily induces the cells to stop the production of genetic material, endoreduplication is prevented. Cancer cells which lack working copies of p53 are thus left susceptible to a second drug that induces endoreduplication, resulting in tumour-specific killing. The activation of p53 is reversible and the normal cells resume their function once the cancer cells have been killed.

Said Prof David Lane, Director of the p53 Laboratory and A*STAR's Chief Scientist, "We are proposing a unique combination of drugs which may have therapeutic benefits and could potentially alleviate the side effects of currently available cancer treatments. The clinical approval of nutlin or nutlin-like drugs will allow such exciting concepts to be tested in the clinic. We hope that this work encourages further breakthroughs in p53 research and brings more efficient and cost-effective treatments for the millions of cancer patients worldwide."

Dr Cheok said, "One the most difficult problems in treating cancer is ensuring that normal, healthy cells are not killed over the course of treatment. Many of the currently available methods of treatment, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy, damage normal cells in the process of killing cancer cells. We are using our knowledge of p53 to overcome this difficulty."

Dr Cheok was among the first few Singaporeans to embark on a PhD scholarship from A*STAR in 2001 . After receiving her PhD from the University of Oxford, she began her post-doctoral training under the tutelage of Prof Lane in 2006. She is also an Assistant Professor and a Senior Research Fellow at the Department of Biochemistry at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, NUS.

Prof Lane added, "We are proud of Chit Fang for having made this significant finding so early in her scientific career. It gives me great pleasure to have her as part of my team working on deepening our understanding of how to use basic science findings to develop new therapies."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore. "Tapping p53 to kill cancer cells more effectively while sparing normal cells." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 October 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100524101337.htm>.
Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore. (2010, October 11). Tapping p53 to kill cancer cells more effectively while sparing normal cells. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100524101337.htm
Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore. "Tapping p53 to kill cancer cells more effectively while sparing normal cells." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100524101337.htm (accessed November 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, November 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Having children has always been a frightening prospect in Sierra Leone, the world's most dangerous place to give birth, but Ebola has presented an alarming new threat for expectant mothers. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola: Life Without School in Guinea

Ebola: Life Without School in Guinea

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Following the closure of schools and universities in Guinea because of the Ebola virus, students look for temporary work or gather in makeshift classrooms to catch up on their syllabus. Duration: 02:14 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins