Working on drug discovery
Mutations in p53 are associated with many forms of cancer. Dr. Nir London—an expert in computational and experimental methods for drug discovery—has shown how p53 mutations associated with an aberrant form of the amino acid cysteine can be selectively targeted by drug compounds. He and his team discovered and optimized a series of compounds that potently and selectively label the oncogenic cysteine mutation R273C in p53—the first compounds to bind p53 in such a mutation-specific manner. The researchers are currently working to see whether their compounds can effectively ‘fix’ the mutated p53, so that it starts working properly again.