Swedish researchers have discovered a way to reactivate the P53 protein, known as the “guardian of the genome”. This protein, which is responsible for fighting cancer cells, is inactivated in the face of some tumors.
Researchers at the Karolinska Institute They have succeeded in suppressing protein In some cancerous tumors, it blocks the activity of the P53 protein. The focus of this study is on the genome guard protein, which detects DNA defects during cell division and prevents cells from turning into cancer cells.
However, some tumors can bypass this process with the help of a protein called MDM2 and inactivate the P53 protein. The researchers hypothesized that by reactivating P53, it could fight cancer cells more effectively. They tested this hypothesis with the help of a drug called ALRN-6924, which suppresses MDM2.
The result of the experiment in mice was that more T cells were able to penetrate the tumor and the ability to guard the P53 protein was significantly increased. They then observed similar results in two people with skin cancer.
The interesting thing is the performance of P53. There are sequences in our genome called “endogenous retroviruses” that have been made from the DNA of our ancestors for hundreds of thousands of years. Up to 8% of the human genome is made up of this ancient viral DNA, but P53 silences them to keep our genome stable.
When P53 encounters cancer cells, it uses these sequences as a weapon. The protein activates the sequences within the tumor and triggers the immune system to respond appropriately. Using this process can be useful as a form of immunotherapy.
“Research suggests that there are additives that can be used in MDM2 suppressants and modern immunotherapy methods,” said lead researcher Galina Slivanova. The combination of these methods can be especially important for patients who do not respond to immunotherapy. “If we can increase the level of interferons, the chances of successful immunotherapy increase.”
The researchers say their next step is to look at drugs similar to the P53 protein activator that are currently in clinical trials and could increase interferon levels.