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NUIG researchers find potent new possibilities in anti-cancer gene

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NUIG researchers find potent new possibilities in anti-cancer gene

NUIG researchers find potent new possibilities in anti-cancer gene
September 23
10:01 2016

New research published in the Open Biology journal by researchers at NUI Galway has shown that the anti-cancer gene TP53 has more tools to fight cancer than previously thought.

The anti-cancer gene had previously been identified for its processes which prevent cancer cells from multiplying in the body. These processes were able to either trigger a cells own destruction, or prevent cell division, making it a potent anti-cancer gene.

The team at Galway, led by Professor Noel Lowndes, discovered that TP53 also directly regulates the repair of broken DNA. Professor Lowndes explains how: “Broken DNA is the most dangerous type of DNA damage as it can result in cell death or loss of genetic information in those cells that survive the break.

“There are two major competing biochemical pathways for repairing pathways for repairing broken DNA. One simply re-joins the two ends of the broken chromosome. The other uses a nearby intact DNA molecule of the same sequence as a template to repair the broken chromosome. The other uses a nearby intact DNA molecule of the same sequence as a template to repair the broken chromosome.

“Our work demonstrates that the anti-cancer gene TP53 directly influences the regulation of these pathways. Thus, loss of TP53 during cancer development will drive the evolution of cancer cells towards ever more aggressive cancer types.”

The team indicate that it hopes this discovery will impact upon diagnosis of cancer and aid improved therapeutic interventions. Other recent studies have pointed to the successful targeting of TP53 in cancer therapeutics, with one study yielding positive results for chronic myeloid leukaemia.

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