The tumour suppressor molecule p53 guards the genome against mutation and if it detects damage, tries to repair the DNA damage and if unsuccessful, tries to stop the cell growing and if that doesn't work starts the processes to program cell death (apoptosis).
In 70% of human cancers, p53 or its pathways need to be inactivated for the cancer to develop. The gene encoding p53 is located on the short arm of chromosome 17 and is deleted in 17p- CLL. Unsurprisingly, p53 and 17p deletions are important prognostic indicators for CLL as described here:
Sir Alan Fersht, Master Gonville & Caius College and Group Leader MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology at Cambridge UK is one of the world's top molecular biologists. Robyn Williams, the presenter of the Australia National Radio program, The Science Show, recently interviewed Sir Alan Fersht about his team's work towards designing novel anti-cancer drugs that restore the activity of mutated p53 proteins and thus could become powerful weapons in personalised medicine.
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