Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Scientific Community
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article

Scientists Find a Promising Way To Boost The Body’s Immune Surveillance Via p53

Published: Thursday, September 26, 2013
Last Updated: Thursday, September 26, 2013
Bookmark and Share
Researchers at A*STAR have discovered a new mechanism involving p53, the famous tumour suppressor, to fight against aggressive cancers.

This strategy works by sabotaging the ability of the cancer cells to hide from the immune system. Published in the prestigious Nature Communications journal, this research opens a new avenue to improve targeted cancer therapy by harnessing the body’s own immune system to control and eliminate cancer cells.

Also known as the “Guardian of the Genome”, p53 fights cancer by causing damaged cells to die or by halting the growth of mutant cells before they become cancerous and spread to the rest of the body. Ironically, because of its pivotal role in coordinating a range of cancer-fighting mechanisms in the human body, it is also one of the most important cancer-causing genes when mutated. Studies have shown that more than 50% of all human cancers carry defects in the p53 gene, and almost all other cancers with a normal p53 function carry other defects which indirectly impair the cancer-fighting function of p53.

In this study, the SIgN team discovered for the first time that the integrity of p53 affects the production of a special cell surface protein called Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) class I. MHC class I molecules on the cancer cell surface serve as targets for the immune system. Therefore, having less MHC I molecules may allow cancer cells to hide better and escape detection by the immune system.

Using two cancer cell lines differing only in the integrity of p53 gene, the scientists observed that cancer cells with defective p53 had much less MHC class I on the cell surface. Specifically, they discovered that p53 moderates the expression of MHC I by controlling the amount of another protein called ERAP1 in the cells. Interestingly, a number of disease conditions including tumour malignancy, multiple sclerosis and autoimmune disease were recently reported to be associated with ERAP1.

The team leader, Associate Professor Ren Ee Chee from SIgN said, “We were surprised to discover that p53 regulates MHC class I production by acting through ERAP1. This may explain how cancer cells escape detection by our body’s immune system. More importantly, it opens up exciting avenues of research to explore how restoration of p53 with drugs such as those that target ERAP1 can help to harness the immune system to recognise and destroy cancer cells.”

Acting Executive Director of SIgN, Associate Professor Laurent Rénia said, “The team has uncovered a new door to manipulate one of the most studied yet enigmatic cancer-associated genes of our times. I am confident that this work will pave the way for more targeted, efficient and cost-effective treatment for the millions of cancer patients globally.”

Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,800+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,000+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters

Sign In

Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

A*STAR Findings on Breast Cancer Hold Potential for New Treatments
Computational techniques to increase understanding of diseases and improve patient treatments.
Friday, October 30, 2015
A*STAR Scientists Discover Gene Critical for Proper Brain Development
This gene accounts for the size of the human brain and potentially our superior cognitive abilities.
Friday, December 26, 2014
Gene Associated with an Aggressive Breast Cancer Identified
Over-expressed gene in triple negative breast cancer offers new diagnostics for risk assessment.
Wednesday, December 03, 2014
Novel Gene Predicts Both Breast Cancer Relapse and Response to Chemotherapy
A predictive marker discovered by scientists at A*STAR and NUS could help doctors classify breast cancer patients for more effective treatment.
Thursday, August 21, 2014
New Tool to Study Critical Protein Interaction in Cancer Research
A*STAR scientists used fluorescent molecular rotors to study protein-protein interactions involving p53 and MDM2 in cells.
Thursday, July 03, 2014
New Possibilities for Leukaemia Therapy with a Novel Mode of Cancer Cell Recognition
A new class of lipids in human leukaemia cells trigger an immune response to kill the cells.
Thursday, June 26, 2014
Nature and Nurture: Baby's Development is Affected by Genes and Conditions in the Womb
First attempt to discover how genetic and environmental factors affect the human epigenome.
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Elephant Shark Genome Provides New Insights into Bone Formation in Humans
A*STAR-led international consortium completely decodes the first shark-family member genome.
Thursday, January 09, 2014
A*STAR Scientists Discover Novel Hormone Essential for Heart Development
This unusual discovery could aid cardiac repair and provide new therapies to common heart diseases and hypertension.
Friday, December 06, 2013
A*STAR and NUS Launch Joint Centre
The S$148 million centre will study the role of nutrition and early development in health and disease in Asia.
Thursday, October 10, 2013
Singapore Scientists Discover New RNA Processing Pathway Important in hESCs
Discovery of RNA regulator could lead to a better understanding of diseases like cancer and influenza.
Monday, September 09, 2013
Scientists at GIS Discover Gene that Controls the Birth of Neurons
Discovery of long non-coding RNA's role in neurogenesis may lead to cures for diseases such as Alzheimer's disease.
Thursday, August 29, 2013
A*STAR Scientist Alex Matter Awarded Prestigious Szent-Gyorgyi Prize For Progress In Cancer Research
National Foundation for Cancer Research honours Professor Alex Matter with esteemed award for groundbreaking cancer pill that gives leukaemia patients a new lease of life.
Friday, April 05, 2013
A*STAR Scientists Make Discovery of Cell Nucleus Structure Crucial to Understanding Diseases
Genes relocated from their correct position in the nucleus cause them to malfunction and this may lead to the heart, blood vessels and muscles breaking down.
Friday, February 08, 2013
A*STAR's GIS Collaborates with GSK to Further Research on Lung Cancer
Partnership will advance both organizations' joint efforts towards finding a cure for the disease.
Thursday, January 31, 2013
Scientific News
New Tech Vastly Improves CRISPR/Cas9 Accuracy
A new CRISPR/Cas9 technology developed by scientists at UMass Medical School is precise enough to surgically edit DNA at nearly any genomic location, while avoiding potentially harmful off-target changes typically seen in standard CRISPR gene editing techniques.
New Class of RNA Tumor Suppressors Identified
Two short, “housekeeping” RNA molecules block cancer growth by binding to an important cancer-associated protein called KRAS. More than a quarter of all human cancers are missing these RNAs.
Biologists Induce Flatworms to Grow Heads and Brains of Other Species
Findings shed light on role of a new kind of epigenetic signaling in evolution, could yield clues for understanding birth defects and regeneration.
Turning up the Tap on Microbes Leads to Better Protein Patenting
Mining millions of proteins could become faster and easier with a new technique that may also transform the enzyme-catalyst industry, according to University of California, Davis, researchers.
Mathematical Model Forecasts the Path of Breast Cancer
Chances of survival depend on which organs breast cancer tumors colonize first.
Exploring the Causes of Cancer
Queen's research to understand the regulation of a cell surface protein involved in cancer.
Ancient Viral Molecules Essential for Human Development
Genetic material from ancient viral infections is critical to human development, according to researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.
Tardigrade's Are DNA Master Thieves
Tardigrades, nearly microscopic animals that can survive the harshest of environments, including outer space, hold the record for the animal that has the most foreign DNA.
The Secret Behind the Power of Bacterial Sex
Migration between different communities of bacteria is the key to the type of gene transfer that can lead to the spread of traits such as antibiotic resistance, according to researchers at Oxford University.
Farming’s in Their DNA
Ancient genomes reveal natural selection in action.
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,800+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,000+ scientific videos