David Lane is a molecular biologist and one of the world’s foremost cancer biologists and researchers. His most notable success was the co-discovery of the p53 protein, which has a vital role in the body’s defence against cancer. The gene that encodes p53 is a known tumour suppressor gene, and p53 protein itself is faulty or inactive in a large number of cancers.
Normal p53 protein encourages damaged cells to initiate their own death. In p53’s absence, abnormal cells may live and flourish, indicating a crucial role for this protein in the development of cancer. Targeting p53 protein for destruction — or restoring the function of a damaged p53 gene — therefore represent routes to potentially effective cancer treatments.
David is an enthusiastic science communicator and has acted as an ambassador for UK science in the past. He is currently Chief Scientist of A*STAR, which fosters scientific research and talent for a knowledge-based Singapore. He has won many international prizes and awards including the Cancer Research UK lifetime achievement award and was knighted in 2000.
In recognition of his discovery of the p53 protein and the subsequent research in which this basic discovery has been followed through to clinical application, exploiting the p53 pathway to find new treatments for cancer.