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Supercomputing the P53 Protein as a Promising Anticancer Therapy

Even though it's almost impossible to see, computational biophysicist Rommie Amaro is using the Stampede supercomputer at the Texas Advanced Computing Center at The University of Texas at Austin to model the largest atomic level system of the tumor suppression protein p53 to date — over 1.5 million atoms. The simulations identify new "pockets" to reactivate p53 which would be a tremendous boost for future anti-cancer drug discovery. Amaro is a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of California, San Diego. She has been studying this important molecule for years trying to understand how it works. Amaro is motivated by the fact that the p53 protein somehow helps prevent the formation of cancerous cells. "P53 is a major tumor suppressor that is mutated and inactivated in approximately 50 percent of all human cancers. Thus, reactivation of mutant p53 using small molecules has been a long-sought-after anticancer therapeutic strategy," Amaro said. Learn more at

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