The Role of the Protein PAR-4 in the Apoptosis of Cancer Cells

Nicolas Daffern


            Apoptosis is the self-programmed elimination of cells due to environmental factors. Apoptosis occurs when various signals are recognized by a cell and an intricate series of events takes place in which the cell degrades itself. This is a normal process in the life of multicellular eukaryotes. However, the process of apoptosis is often lacking in cancerous cells, allowing them to proliferate. Par-4 is a protein common to many eukaryotes which is rather unique in its ability to trigger apoptosis solely in cancer cells. It is signaled through a multitude of pathways and enacts cell death using various intriguing mechanisms. These mechanisms are currently being studied in order that PAR-4 might be used to selectively kill cancer cells without harming healthy cells.

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