The gene p53 is the most commonly mutated gene in cancer. p53 is dubbed the “guardian of the genome” because it blocks cells with damaged DNA from propagating and eventually becoming cancerous. However, new research led by Ute M. Moll, M.D., Professor of Pathology at Stony Brook University School of Medicine, and colleagues, uncovers a novel role for p53 beyond cancer in the development of ischemic stroke. The research team identified an unexpected critical function of p53 in activating necrosis, an irreversible form of tissue death, triggered during oxidative stress and ischemia. The findings are detailed online in Cell.