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Mar 30, 2007

Senescene Supresses Spontaneous Tumorigenesis

  • Inducing senescence, a permanent arrest of cell growth, in aged cells may be sufficient to guard against spontaneous cancer development, researchers discovered. By activating the senescence pathway in mice that can’t initiate apoptosis, researchers suceeded in suppressing spontaneous tumorigenesis.

    Sandy Chang, assistant professor at M. D. Anderson’s department of cancer genetics and colleagues studied mice with dysfunctional telomeres that promote tumorigenesis in the absence of the tumor suppressor p53. The mice also had copies of the p53 gene that cannot initiate p53-dependent apoptosis but can execute p53-mediated senescence.

    The authors found that activating the senescence pathway was sufficient to suppress spontaneous tumorigenesis. The team believes that thier findings suggest that by halting cellular proliferation, p53-mediated senescence may act as an important tumor suppressor mechanism in aged cells.

    The paper is published online in EMBO reports.

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Scientifically Studying Ecstasy

MDMA (commonly known as the empathogen “ecstasy”) is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Two researchers from Stanford, however, call for a rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA's effects to identify precisely how the drug works, the data from which could be used to develop therapeutic compounds.

Do you agree that ecstasy should be studied for its potential therapeutic benefits?

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