GRADUATE STUDENT, UNIVERSITY OF NEW MEXICO
Targeting a gene called TP53 to treat ovarian cancer.
According to the WHO, cancer is one of the leading cause of death accounting for 8.8 million mortalities worldwide .This disease is characterized by a malignant growth or tumor resulting from the uncontrolled division of abnormal cells much like a car with constant acceleration and no breaks on. Cancer cells ignore signals that normally tell their cells to stop dividing and avoid the body’s surveillance system. TP53 is a gene that is called the ‘guardian of the genome’ because it acts as a tumor suppressor under normal conditions and regulates cell division by keeping cells from undergoing uncontrolled growth. Mutations in this tumor suppressor contribute to human cancer in TP53 making this gene the most mutated gene in cancer progression. TP53 mutations result in the gene losing its function as a tumor suppressor and causing it to act as a tumor promoting oncogene. Hence the guardian of your genome has now gone rogue thus gaining a Jekyll and Hyde character. The mutant gene now loses its function as a tumor suppressor and promotes tumor formation thus behaving like an oncogene or a cancer promoting gene. Your cancer stopping gene has now become your cancer causing gene. Our team works on HGSOC, the most lethal form of ovarian cancer that has almost a 100% TP53 mutation frequency .Our aim is to target this mutant gene and use it as a prognostic and diagnostic marker for cancer treatment by taking into account both the genetic alterations inherited in a population as well as the accumulated environmental mutations. Every individual deserves a fair chance to fight cancer and manipulating TP53 mutations to provide better diagnostics and more efficient therapy is the need of the hour. Every patient needs to be regarded as a unique case with individualized precision medicine providing a genomic blueprint to determine each person’s unique disease susceptibility. Hence as healthcare scientists we have the responsibility of leading a transformation in healthcare research by accelerating discoveries and bringing life changing treatments into practice to increase the quality of life of the patient. Ultimately at the end of the day, Cancer survived is a life revived.