Researchers from the National Cancer Institute have identified a critical role for a gene known as Gadd45a (short for growth arrest and DNA damage-inducible gene), which protects the skin against cancer-causing damage from the sun's rays. In a study published Dec. 15, 2002, in Cancer Research*, researchers show that mice without Gadd45a develop a high rate of skin tumors when exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light similar to that from the sun. The study demonstrates that Gadd45a prevents skin tumors in mice by regulating the most commonly mutated gene in human tumors, p53. This important role in the cellular response to DNA damage suggests Gadd45a may be a useful target for future cancer therapies.
*Hildesheim, J., Bulavin, D.V., Anver, M.R., Alvord, W.G., Hollander, M.C., Vardanian, L., & Fornace, A.J. (2002). Gadd45a protects against UV irradition-induced skin tumors and promotes apoptosis and stress signaling via MAP kinases and p53. Cancer Research, 62, 7305-7315.
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