Autophagy In Cancer Cells

Shelby McCarver


Autophagy is a process that involves the lysosomal degradation of cellular components by the cell itself. It degrades these cellular components to use their nutrients for survival by reducing their proliferation. Autophagy can be activated by the cell’s environment. If the outside stressors of the environment are high, autophagy can be used to such a great extent that it activates a programmed cell death (Gagliostro 4). Ceramides, certain types of transmembrane components also called sphingolipids (SPLs), are very important in the cell’s growth, proliferation, differentiation, and even cellular death. These ceramides have been shown to negatively affect cellular outcome in cancer cells and to activate an autophagic response in cells which leads to cellular death (Gagliostro 4). By inducing the autophagic response in a cancer cell it can essentially self-abort and lyse by self- degrading its components. Current research suggests this as a possible new treatment for cancer.

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