p53-based cancer therapy.
Inactivation of p53 functions is an almost universal feature of human cancer cells. This has spurred a tremendous effort to develop p53 based cancer therapies. Gene therapy using wild-type p53, delivered by adenovirus vectors, is now in widespread use in China. Other biologic approaches include the development of oncolytic viruses designed to replicate and kill only p53 defective cells and also the development of siRNA and antisense RNA's that activate p53 by inhibiting the function of the negative regulators Mdm2, MdmX, and HPV E6. The altered processing of p53 that occurs in tumor cells can elicit T-cell and B-cell responses to p53 that could be effective in eliminating cancer cells and p53 based vaccines are now in clinical trial. A number of small molecules that directly or indirectly activate the p53 response have also reached the clinic, of which the most advanced are the p53 mdm2 interaction inhibitors. Increased understanding of the p53 response is also allowing the development of powerful drug combinations that may increase the selectivity and safety of chemotherapy, by selective protection of normal cells and tissues.