Researchers flag new cancer therapy that guards p53

Scientists in Scotland say that they have identified a chemical group that can protect the p53 gene, a guardian against cancer tumors which is damaged or turned off in most cancer cases. They believe that the chemicals, tenovins, can be developed into new therapies that will protect the p53 gene, thwarting tumor development. Tenovins work by halting enzymes that mark p53 for destruction. Some cancer therapies activate p53 through DNA damage. But a new therapy that protects p53 without damaging DNA could be not only more effective but safer for patients.

"This program has successfully combined skills in cell and cancer biology, biochemistry, genetics and chemistry to deliver compounds of genuine therapeutic interest," said lead author Dr. Nick Westwood from the School of Chemistry at the University of St Andrews.

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