Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Go P53! Rah Team P53!

[But before I begin this morning you will note the little new badge to the right-->
where you can vote for my blog for one of the best breast cancer blogs of 2012. Click on the little link and then find my blog and vote for it. When I last checked it was on the top of page 6 when sorted alphabetically. I have no votes yet so I'm feeling a little lonely - but it only started yesterday.]

Anyhow we are on Team P53 now. Here's a bit of an explanation of who P53 is and why we want to be on their team:

"Normal healthy cells have a mechanism that tells them to die if their DNA is too badly damaged to repair. Cancer cells have grotesquely damaged DNA, so ordinarily they would self-destruct. A protein known as p53 that Dr. Gary Gilliland of Merck calls the cell’s angel of death normally sets things in motion. But cancer cells disable p53, either directly, with a mutation, or indirectly, by attaching the p53 protein to another cellular protein that blocks it. The dream of cancer researchers has long been to reanimate p53 in cancer cells so they will die on their own."

P53 has been known about for about 20 years. It was Science Magazine's (don't laugh) Molecule of the Year in 1993 and even had the cover for a month. (Really! So its already cool so we want to be on its team.)

It was also called, in an editorial, “a cure of a terrible killer in the not too distant future.” So even its hero status has been known for a long time. This is the Joe Namath-Bobby Orr-Yogi Berra-Neil Armstrong-Nelson Mandela-Mick Jagger-Winston Churchill-Dr Salk-Mother Theresa MVP of the year protein. We want to be on the team P53.

Right now there are three drug companies - Merck, Sanofi, and Roche - about to begin testing a new drug each that will work on a wide variety of cancers - breast, lung, prostate, and liver - that will work with P53 to help reanimate it so the cancer cells die off.

"Great uncertainties remain, but such drugs could mean new treatments for rare, neglected cancers, as well as common ones. Merck, Roche and Sanofi are racing to develop their own versions of a drug they hope will restore a mechanism that normally makes badly damaged cells self-destruct and could potentially be used against half of all cancers" 

So the thought is that in the future, the organ where the cancer is based will become less important than its molecular make up.

This will have a very significant impact on a range of issues related to cancer. One result, the philanthropy and awareness efforts surrounding different types of cancer will shift their goal and pool their resources. Groups that now focus on a single type of cancer, such as the Komen-for-a-Cure pink cult will become a way of the past (and we never thought we could get rid of them) as research is pooled and focus on the genes and molecular impact. So team P53 will not even have pink cheerleaders.

I'm all for Team P53 here. Please join me.

You can read the full article here.

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