In one of the first discoveries of its kind, UC Davis Cancer Center researchers have identified ways to block a cancer gene's own repair mechanism and, in so doing, help make chemotherapy for kidney cancer more effective and better tolerated. Robert Weiss, UC Davis professor of nephrology and chief of nephrology at the Sacramento VA Medical Center, and his team identified compounds that could interrupt the pathway of the p21 gene. The gene has an important role in restoring cancer cell DNA and potentially circumventing benefits of traditional treatments. Three of the 12 compounds found to bind to p21 specifically blocked kidney cancer cells' ability to mend and thereby made them more responsive to cancer DNA-damaging treatments. The outcome is published in Cancer Biology and Therapy.