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Centre for Gene Research $2.4m for Dunedin Cancer Research
Marjorie Cook
14 July 2000, Otago Daily Times

 

Professor Antony Braithwaite

 

A Dunedin Medical School research team headed by Prof Antony Braithwaite has secured $2.4 million in grants to conduct four investigations into why cells die.

The research will enable better understanding of cancer.

One grant worth $900,000 from the Health Research Council will enable the team to build a $40,000 "supermouse", which will be used to study the tumour-suppressing gene, p53.

Other Health Research Council grants are for $220,000, to study simian virus 40, and $800,000, to study adenovirus.

A Cancer Society grant of $400,000 will allow the team to study drug resistance in p53.

Lotteries grants cover the balance and will be used to study other aspects of p53.

Prof Braithwaite said the funding was "a bit embarrassing" and work on p53 - "one of the most famous genes in the world" - was highly competitive. At least 18,000 research papers have been produced on p53 around the world.

The p53 gene may prevent cells with DNA damage from growing or kill them in response to the DNA damage.

The "supermouse" study would ask how important p53 was in promoting cell death in a tumour.

The supermouse would not contain a piece of the p53 gene.

"If that piece is really necessary, then those mice will all come down with tumours over them. If that piece is not necessary, they will not get tumours. If that piece is only relevant to specific tumours, we will get mixed results,"

Prof Braithwaite said. Another study would examine how adenovirus killed cells. For a normal cell to be killed, you need 30 times more virus than if you are a tumour cell. We don't know why," Prof Braithwaite said.

 

Centre for Gene Research
Centre for Gene Research
Centre for Gene Research

 

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Last Updated: November 2001


Centre for Gene Research
Centre for Gene Research
Centre for Gene Research
Centre for Gene Research