The use of the process of apoptosis for cancer treatments

Andreas Strasser, MSc, PhD of the The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, Parkville, Australia, talks about using programmed cell death as a method for the treatment of cancers at the 2016 National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Conference in Liverpool, UK. Prof. Strasser explains that the Bcl-2 family of proteins is a group of proteins that regulates apoptosis. This process is needed for the normal development of multicellular organisms such as us and when it goes wrong, it can cause cancer and a number of other diseases. However, reactivating apoptosis in tumor cells can be beneficial for treating cancer with many existing treatments using this method, i.e. activating programmed cell death in cancer cells. He explains that his and his team’s work has really demonstrated this for the first time and they are collaborating with pharmaceutical companies in order to make drugs that can specifically inactivate the proteins that keep cells alive. This is being tested together with clinicians now in the treatment of a number of cancers.
Recorded at the 2016 National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Conference in Liverpool, UK.

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