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New target for treating a wide range of cancers

Narrator:       This is Science Today. A new target for treating a wide range of cancers has been discovered by a multidisciplinary team of researchers at the University of California, Irvine. Computer scientist Richard Lathrop, who co-led the study, says they used a computational method to capture an elusive pocket on the surface of the p53 protein.

Lathrop:         P53 is the body's most important tumor suppressor gene. When it becomes mutated, it's unable to do this and the cancer can continue to grow. We're trying to restore activity to cancer mutant p53 and as proof of principle, we used computation to find a small drug-like molecule that reactivates cancer mutant p53.

Narrator:       Lathrop says the computational method they used is called molecular dynamics, which involve simulating the motions of atoms in a computer.

Lathrop:         It gives scientists a place to dock small molecules in the effort to try to find more and better compounds that will reactivate p53.

Narrator:       For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.