Self-Destruct Button for Cancer

  • Author: ChemistryViews
  • Published: 03 March 2011
  • Copyright: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA
  • Source / Publisher: Molecular Cell/Elsevier
thumbnail image: Self-Destruct Button for Cancer

Seamus Martin and colleagues, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, have discovered how autophagy – literally ‘self-eating’ – plays an important role in preventing the development of cancer. The protein, Noxa, was shown to have an unexpected role in triggering the self-eating process that leads early-stage cancer cells to self-destruct before they can develop into cancer.


Autophagy normally only occurs when cells experience periods of starvation, however, mutations in the Ras gene lead to excessive autophagy. The Ras gene is involved in approximately 30 % of human cancers and mutant Ras was found to promote autophagy by increasing the production of Noxa.


Members of the Bcl-2 gene family were shown to override this process, deactivating autophagy, leading to survival of cancerous cells. This suggests that drugs targeting Bcl-2 might reactivate the natural self-destruction pathway and lead to new treatments for cancer.

Image: (c) Heulwen Price/Wiley-VCH


Article Views: 4916

Sign in Area

Please sign in below

Additional Sign In options

Please note that to comment on an article you must be registered and logged in.
Registration is for free, you may already be registered to receive, e.g., the newsletter. When you register on this website, please ensure you view our terms and conditions. All comments are subject to moderation.

Article Comments - To add a comment please sign in

If you would like to reuse any content, in print or online, from ChemistryViews.org, please contact us first for permission and consult our permission guidance prior to making your request

Follow on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on YouTube Follow on LinkedIn Follow on Instagram RSS Sign up for newsletters

Magazine of Chemistry Europe (16 European Chemical Societies) published by Wiley-VCH