Study Uncovers Mutation that Supercharges Tumor-suppressor

Laura Attardi, PhD featured by Stanford Medicine

Cancer researchers have long hailed p53, a tumor-suppressor protein, for its ability to keep unruly cells from forming tumors. But for such a highly studied protein, p53 has hidden its tactics well.

Now, researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine  have tapped into what makes p53 tick, delineating a clear pathway that shows how the protein mediates anti-tumor activity in pancreatic cancer. The team’s research also revealed something unexpected: A particular mutation in the p53 gene amplified the protein’s tumor-fighting capabilities, creating a “super tumor suppressor.”

The protein functions a bit like a puppet master in the genome, guiding the activation or suppression of many cancer-relevant genes in the body. “But if you simply ask how cells with and without p53 are different, you’ll see that there are at least 1,000 genes whose expression is affected by p53 status,” said Laura Attardi, PhD, professor of radiation oncology and of genetics. “So, getting to the bottom of which of those many genes are critical to tumor suppression is not a trivial question.”

Jiangbin Ye, PhD Awarded 2017 Mary Kay Foundation Research Grant

Dr. Ye granted $100,000 for breast cancer research

Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology, Jiangbin Ye, PhD was awarded the 2017 Mary Kay Foundation Innovative Cancer Research Grant for his project titled, "Targeting serine and one-carbon unit metabolism in metastatic breast cancer." Grants are awarded each year to researchers at accredited medical schools recommended by The Mary Kay Foundation Research Review Committee, which is composed of prominent doctors who volunteer their time to help The Foundation select the best recipients across the United States. The Mary Kay Foundation focuses on funding translational research in ovarian, uterine, breast, or cervical cancer and Dr. Ye's research aligns well with their mission of “curing cancers that affect women."

Sarah S. Donaldson, MD, FASCO, named inaugural recipient of Women Who Conquer Cancer

The Conquer Cancer Foundation (CCF) presented its first annual Women Who Conquer Cancer Mentorship Award to Sarah S. Donaldson, MD, FASCO, a globally recognized pediatric radiation oncology expert, inspiring professor, and devoted mentor, during the 2016 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting in June. 

An esteemed faculty member since 1973 and the unofficial "heart and soul of radiation oncology" at Stanford University School of Medicine, Dr. Donaldson is perhaps most widely known for her decades-long research and contributions related to improving quality of treatment and of life for children with cancer. Yet, it is her unwavering dedication to mentorship that distinguishes her as the utmost role model to young women oncologists today.