Q: Can you please outline your latest research where you triggered the apoptosis ‘switch’ on in cancer cells forcing them to commit ‘suicide’?
A: Before I explain the discovery, I would take a step back and explain an interesting event that takes place in the cancer cells. Normal cells follow a rapid and irreversible process to efficiently eradicate dysfunctional cells.
This is a natural process by which damaged cells commit ‘suicide’. This process is known as apoptosis or programmed cell death.
A characteristic of cancer is their unique ability to escape apoptosis. They act ‘smart’ and bypass this normal cellular phenomenon ultimately leading to uncontrolled cellular growth.
Mitochondria, which is the source of energy in the cell, are the primary regulators of cellular suicide. The pioneering work of Otto Warburg (Nobel Prize Winner, 1931) and plethora of other studies led to the inference that functional damage to mitochondria can be linked to cancer.