More About Using p53 To Fight Cancer
A problem with most current cancer treaments, such as radiation or chemotherapy, is that they harm both cancerous and normal cells.
A new experimental method takes advantage of the fact that many cancer cells have a mutant for of the protein p53. In the treatment, all cells are exposed to a genetically modified cold virus that infects both cancerous and normal cells. However as the viral DNA tries to replicate in the nucleus of a normal cell it is suppressed by the presence of healthy p53 protein. In the cancer cell however, p53 is mutant and inactive, and therefore the cell cannot defend itself from the invading viral DNA, which ultimately kills it.
Background on Using p53 to Fight Cancer
Knowing the genetic path that a particular cancer follows could someday help physicians better treat individual patients. By determining the genetic defects responsible for a specific cancer, physicians might be able to select the therapy that will be most effective at eliminating that cancer. Furthermore, each cancer-causing gene that researchers identify can serve as a target for the development of more specific therapies that will wipe out cancer cells while leaving healthy cells unharmed.
From lecture 2 of the 2003 Holiday Lectures Series "Learning From Patients: The Science of Medicine."
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The 2003 Holiday Lectures Series "Learning From Patients: The Science of Medicine."
Director: Dennis Liu, Ph.D.
Scientific Direction: Bert Voglestein, M.D.
Scientific Content: Satoshi Amagai, Ph.D.
Animator: Chris Vargas