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Leading woman scientist receives accolade for her research into cancer protection

The Biochemical Society’s Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins Memorial Lecture,in which a researcher is asked to assess the effect of recent advances in his or her field, will in 2008 be given by Karen Vousden who heads up the Beatson Institute for Cancer Research in Glasgow.

It is already widely known that the tumour suppressor p53 (a protein) plays a critical role in protecting us from cancer. Much of what we know about p53 comes from the work of Karen Vousden – she discovered the important factor that the loss of p53 played in the development of cervical carcinomas and linked this to a tumour virus that triggers this form of cancer.

Karen’s work also provided major insights into just how p53 is able to suppress tumour development; not only can it stop the proliferation of cancer cells but it can also cause them to suicide through the process of apoptosis.

The potential benefits of Karen’s work, for cancer patients, are enormous in terms of the development of molecules that might be used as drugs to stabilize and activate p53.

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Dr Karen Vousden gained her PhD Genetics at University of London and went on to work with Professor Chris Marshall at the Institute of Cancer Research, London for her post-doc research. Further posts with the National Cancer Institute at Bethesda, USA and heading up the Human Papillomavirus Group at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research followed by senior positions at the NCI-FCRDC, culminated in her appointment as Director of the Beatson Institute in 2002.

Mark Burgess | alfa
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