Reaching For Cancer's On Off Switch

Dr. Arnold J. Levine is hardly celebrity material. The unassuming Princeton University researcher is "Arnie" to nearly everyone. He presides over a couple of dozen graduate students and post-docs who say his lab is "fun"--especially the weekly poker games and interlab basketball contests. Yet the chairman of Princeton's molecular biology department is suddenly in the limelight as co-discoverer of one of cancer research's hottest properties, a gene called p53. More than 1,000 papers have already been published on p53, which Science magazine named its "Molecule of the Year" for 1993. That's "science's equivalent of the Academy Award," says Dr. I. Bernard Weinstein, director of Columbia-Presbyterian Cancer Center in New York.

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