PHILIPPE PLAILLY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PHILIPPE PLAILLY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Research into tumour suppressor genes (anti- oncogenes). Professor Pierre May, of the French CNRS molecular oncology unit at Villejuif. May is a long-time researcher of p53, a protein discovered (in 1978) in cancer cells that was believed to boost their chaotic growth process. Subsequent research revealed that this particular p53 was abnormal, the product of a mutant gene (a corrupt set of genetic instructions) & that normal p53 serves to stop cells from becoming cancerous. It is also believed to prevent some potentially cancerous cells from dividing & so prevent tumour formation.
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