Infections and inflammation can trigger the process of cell death, which was long thought by scientists to be irreversible. But life in general and science, in particular, are full of surprises, as it also happens now. And that’s the whole beauty of life!
According to SciTechDaily.com, the process of cellular death can now be halted and controlled, thanks to a new study of researchers from the University of Illinois Chicago.
A new way of studying diseases related to malfunctioning cell death
Along with the new discovery, new opportunities emerge for scientists. It also means a new way to study diseases that are related to malfunctioning cell death. Even some types of cancer are on the list. Let’s not also rule out infections, such as acute respiratory distress syndrome and others.
The cellular death process uses the gasdermin protein to open pores in the cell’s membrane and create destabilization. The scientists designed an “optogenetic” gasdermin by making the protein respond to light.
Gary Mo, who’s a UIC assistant professor, declared at one point as quoted by SciTechDaily.com:
This showed us that this form of cell death is not a one-way ticket. The process is actually programmed with a cancel button, an off-switch,
Understanding how to control this process unlocks new avenues for drug discovery, and now we can find drugs that work for both sides — it allows us to think about tuning, either boosting or limiting, this type of cell death in diseases, where we could previously only remove this important process.
Speaking about the importance of cell death for our bodies, the same scientist declared, as cited by the same source:
The cell death process plays an important role in the body, in both healthy states and unhealthy ones, but studying pyroptosis — which is a major type of cell death — has been challenging.
The new study was published in Nature Communications.