Clock gene slows cancer growth

Don (Myeloma Hope blog) has recently been discussing chronotherapy, or chrono-modulated therapy, in which the chemo is administered at the time of day that takes advantage of a person’s biorhythms to maximize the benefit and minimize the side effects of the drug (see


It just so happens that I just finished reading a Science Daily article ( linking the disruption of the circadian clock, the internal time-keeping mechanism that keeps the body running on a 24-hour cycle, to the slowing down of cancer growth. Coincidentally, more than a year ago I wrote a post about our complex internal ticking system (see my November 11, 2007 post; great set of comments, too). The subject is of huge interest to me, since it would be absolutely fantastic to figure out the best time of day to take supplements…


At any rate, a team of University of North Carolina researchers discovered that genetically altering one of four essential “clock” genes actually suppressed cancer growth in a mouse model commonly used to investigate cancer. A group of mice with a mutated p53 gene (p53 is a tumour suppressor under normal circumstances) lived longer, 50% longer!, when the researchers fiddled around with their internal clocks. Their experiment showed that the mutation of this clock gene reactivates the intracellular signals that can eliminate cancerous cells. Well, well…


So the idea would be to slow down the rate of cancer progression by altering the internal clock of those who possess the p53 mutation. And, since this mutation is present in about 50% of human cancers, that would be quite an impressive number of patients. Hmmm, question: how do we find out if we have a mutated p53 gene?

At any rate, The findings could enable clinicians to reset the internal clock of each cancer cell to render it more vulnerable to attack with chemotherapeutic drugs. Reset e-a-c-h cancer cell? Uhmmm…hey, Scotty, beam me up!

Seriously now, more research is needed (I know, I know, I say that a lot, then I get totally sidetracked into researching heaps of other things…oh well…). I have begun compiling a list of circadian studies…at this rate, with all the studies I have to read, let’s see, uhm, I will have to live at least another 120 years…hey, I wonder if I can reset that part of my biological ticker…!

1 Comment

  1. What a wonderful post! I enjoy reading your blog because it is so smart and detailed. Great writing! I am a friend of Don’s… We attend the same support group in Stillwater, Minnesota. If we ever put you two in a room together we might have a cure for mm in no time! My wife and I blog everyday at Good luck and please keep writing! Pat

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