All of us have lurking in our DNA a most remarkable gene. Its job is to protect us from cancer. This gene--known simply as p53--constantly scans our cells to ensure that when they grow and divide as part of the routine maintenance of our bodies, they do so without mishap.Read more...
All of us have lurking in our DNA a most remarkable gene. Its job is to protect us from cancer. This gene--known simply as p53--constantly scans our cells to ensure that when they grow and divide as part of the routine maintenance of our bodies, they do so without mishap. If a cell makes a mistake in copying its DNA during the process of division, p53 stops it in its tracks, sending in the repair team before allowing the cell to carry on dividing. If the mistake is irreparable and the rogue cell threatens to grow out of control (as happens in cancer), p53 commands the cell to commit suicide. Cancer cannot develop unless p53 itself is damaged or handicapped by some other fault in the system. Not surprisingly, p53 is the most studied single gene in history.
"p53: The Gene that Cracked the Cancer Code" tells the story of the discovery of the gene and of medical science's mission to unravel its mysteries and get to the heart of what happens in our cells when they turn cancerous. Through the personal accounts of key researchers, the book reveals the excitement of the hunt for new cures--the hype, the enthusiasm, the lost opportunities, the blind alleys and the thrilling breakthroughs. As the long-anticipated revolution in cancer treatment tailored to each individual patient's symptoms starts to take off at last, p53 is at the cutting edge. This is a timely tale of scientific discovery and advances in our understanding of a disease that still affects more than one in three of us at some point in our lives.
- ISBN-13: 9781472910516
- ISBN-10: 1472910516
- Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
- Publish Date: February 2015
- Page Count: 288
- Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.8 x 1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 0.9 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2014-11-17
- Reviewer: Staff
Science writer Armstrong (A Matter of Life and Death: Inside the Hidden World of the Pathologist) conveys all the excitement and determination of the scientists who have relentlessly chipped away at the mystery of a workhorse gene known as p53, “the common denominator of cancers,” in hopes of improving cancer research and treatment. Armstrong writes that scientists “working on the front line” of p53 research “believe we are on the threshold of a golden age in cancer prevention and cure.” She makes accessible to the public a scientific mystery that she personally finds fascinating, speaking directly to many of the key players involved in p53 research and adeptly unwinding the difficulties confronting them since the gene’s discovery in 1979. Armstrong takes fascinating side trips along the way, relating how p53 was used in “nailing Big Tobacco”—by proving the link between smoking and cancer—and revealing its role in the relationship between cancer and aging. She succeeds in her goal to “stand clear of those ledgers full of data as far as possible and tell the story of some of the curious, obsessive, competitive minds that to unravel the deepest mysteries of cancer.” (Feb.)