Monday, August 28, 2006

A Suicidal Cure For Cancer?

Suicide is the normal way that cells end their lives. After they've outlived their usefulness, "internal mechanisms kick in and the cell automatically perishes," according to Scientific American. This process, called apoptosis is mysteriously absent in cancer cells. And that what makes them so deadly. But according to a new report by Scientific American, scientists have learned a way to restore the suicidal tendency of cancer cells via chemistry.

Cancer cells are packed with a chemical called procaspase-3, which when activated by a special enzyme turns into caspase-3, or what the Scientific American piece refers to as "an executioner enzyme."

The problem is, the catalyst for transforming porcaspase into nature's little cellular executioner is missing. And that's where modern science comes in. Using a chemical called PAC-1, researchers have been able to coax cancer cells into suicide. The beauty is that cancer cells, with elevated levels of procapase-3, are more sensitive to PAC-1 than healthy cells, so by applying this stuff, you're not forcing the good cells to die premature, self-inflicted deaths.


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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.