Battling cancer with the guardian of the genome

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Scientists describe the role of the ‘guardian of the genome’ target gene in lymphoma and lung cancer development.

Phenomics Australia enabled an international team of scientists from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (WEHI, Melbourne, Australia) and the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF, Barcelona, Spain) to describe the role of a p53 target gene in lymphoma and lung cancer development. The study, conducted in pre-clinical mice models, has been led by Ana Janic, laboratory head of the Cancer Biology group at UPF, and Kate Sutherland, laboratory head in the Cancer Biology and Stem Cells Division at WEHI. The findings have been published in the journal Cell Death & Disease.

The gene p53 is known as the ‘guardian of the genome’ due to its role in protecting cells from cancer by repairing DNA or by killing cells if they have irreparable damage. More than half the cancers in the world involve mutations in the p53 gene, but how it performs its role remains poorly understood. Importantly, p53 works in combination with other genes, and thus the characterisation of its target genes is essential to contribute to the cancer battle.


“Ultimately, this knowledge will have therapeutic impact on the identification of novel strategies to restore p53 function in tumors,” Janic concludes.

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