Xin Lu is Professor of Cancer Biology at the University of Oxford, UK,
and Director of the Oxford Branch of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer
Research, Co-director of the Cancer Research UK Oxford Centre, NIHR
Oxford Biomedical Research Centre Multi-Modal Cancer Therapies
Theme Lead and Director of the Oxford Centre for Early Cancer Detection.
She has a long-standing interest in mechanisms of tumour suppression
and cellular plasticity, centred on studies of p53 and the ASPP
family of proteins (apoptosis-stimulating protein of p53; ankyrin repeats,
SH3 domain and proline-rich sequence-containing proteins).
discovery of ASPPs, regulators or ‘molecular switches’ of the apoptotic
function of p53 led to key insights into the role of cell plasticity in
cancer and other diseases, and these could pave the way to new diagnostic
and therapeutic interventions. Xin has received many awards and honours
in recognition of her significant contributions to cancer biology,
including being elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2020. Here,
she outlines how her breakthrough discovery of ASPPs came about and
its impact on the cancer field, as well as highlighting the importance of
mentors including Min Wu, Birgit Lane and David Lane in shaping her
early career and helping her to navigate a new research world, having
moved to the UK from China in the 80s.
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