Apoptosis | Type 1 Programmed Cell Death Pathway

Cancer accounts for more deaths than heart disease. Cancer is a class of diseases characterized by uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells in the body. Our body produce cancer cell every day. How the cancer cell be eliminated by our body system? What is the signalling pathway control this system? The answer is Apoptosis, the type 1 programmed cell death pathway.

Apoptosis is a normal part of development. The term “apoptosis” comes from the Greek word for the natural process of leaves falling from trees or petals falling from flowers. It describes the common morphological changes that characterize the process of cellular self-destruction. In humans, about 1011 cells die in each adult each day and are replaced by a new cell. Do you know how many cells we lose for a year through normal cell death? The answer is almost the entire weight of our body!

Apoptosis | Programmed Cell Death

Apoptosis has evolved in multicellular animals as a means of eliminating abnormal cells that have a serious threat to the organism’s life. Therefore, apoptosis plays an essential role to kill most tumorigenic cells. However, sometimes the cell can acquire additional mutations that make the cell to avoid apoptotic death and thus enabling the malignant cell to progress.

Apoptosis provides an important barrier against cancer. We can eliminate the cancer cell by initiating the apoptosis. Traditional cancer therapies can activate apoptosis. However, the therapies do indirectly to initiate the apoptosis and often prohibited by the tumour resistance. In the advancing of cancer research, the knowledge about how apoptosis is initiated and how the cancer cells escape from the apoptotic fate have opened exciting new avenues for the development of cancer therapies.

Two signalling pathways initiate apoptosis through:

1. Intracellular Bcl-2 proteins.

2. Cell-surface pro-apoptotic receptors.

In conclusion, apoptosis is precisely regulated and is crucial in all muticellular organisms controlling the number of cells and eliminating the cancerous cells. The cancer research will continuously to explore more about the pro-apoptotic activation to deal with the cancer cell.

“Life is pleasant.
Death is peaceful.
It’s the transition that’s troublesome.”Isaac Asimov

  1. There is an extrinsic pathway that has been noticed in several toxicity studies. It was shown that an increase in calcium concentration within a cell, caused by drug activity, also has the ability to cause apoptosis via a calcium-binding calpain protease.