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Drugs to Prevent Cell Suicide

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the my-mitochondria-never-loved-me dept.

Biotech 110

MrErlenmeyer writes "Many injuries and diseases including heart attacks, stroke, and Parkinson's cause healthy cells to kill themselves. A group of scientists at Washington University in Saint Louis believe they have a lead on how to stop apoptosis (unwanted cell suicide) and thus minimize the tissue damage that occurs as a result of these injuries. They designed drugs that halt the actions of executioner caspases, proteins that act as a molecular wrecking crew. Other scientists had found that a chemical called isatin could prevent tissue damage in rabbit hearts that were deprived of oxygen. This was the starting point for the team of researchers in Missouri. By making some changes to the molecule, they were able to develop an even more effective molecule. With some further refinement, this may lead to a new class of emergency medications."

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Anybody else think... (-1, Offtopic)

vigmeister (1112659) | more than 7 years ago | (#19693649)

That this was an article about

1) prisoners killing themselves?

2) PS3 owners killing themselves?

Cheers!

Re:Anybody else think... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19693763)

I thought it was about iPhone owners killing themselves.

Re:Anybody else think... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19693935)

Meh, fine by me. It'll save me time tracking them down for trolling on /.

A cure for death (2, Insightful)

mollog (841386) | more than 7 years ago | (#19693797)

This is a cure for death, unless I'm badly mistaken. This relates to ischemia and other avenues of organ failure. This will lead to some pretty interesting stuff in the future.

Re:A cure for death (1)

PIPBoy3000 (619296) | more than 7 years ago | (#19694115)

This is a cure for death, unless I'm badly mistaken.
Well, it is a cure for death. Of course, all your cells will turn cancerous and you'll need to live in a vat full of nutrients. You'll potentially live forever, though I'm not sure I'd wish that sort of immortality on my worst enemy.

Re:A cure for death (4, Informative)

sjames (1099) | more than 7 years ago | (#19694431)

This is a cure for death, unless I'm badly mistaken.

That'sa bit of an overstatement. It may be the beginnings of a treatment that will greatly improve survival after heart attacks, strokes, and a number of other conditions.

It could do that by limiting or preventing the damage from reperfusion. As reported in an article a couple months ago, lack of circulation/oygen doesn't ITSELF cause dath, but it does set up a condition where as soon as circulation and oxygenation resume, the person will die of massive cell death.

In theory it means that a person who collapses and has no heartbeat for some time (say, 2 hours) could be brought in to a hospital and resuscitated successfully if apoptosis from reperfusion can be prevented.

On a smaller scale, this could be very helpful in treating crush injuries and limb reattachment. It might also permit complex surgeries that are currently out of the question.

It may prolong life in the sense that it makes various medical crises in old age survivable, but it won't eliminate death. The problem there is cell senescence, that is they stop dividing.

Re:A cure for death (1)

glwtta (532858) | more than 7 years ago | (#19694483)

This is a cure for death, unless I'm badly mistaken.

You are badly mistaken.

Re:A cure for death (1)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 7 years ago | (#19694765)

This is a cure for death, unless I'm badly mistaken.

This is an attempted cure for death, of course death will stil find a way it will just be more violent or virulent. I understand why the ageing boomers would want this, but I think it is a worse idea than just about anything else they have managed yet, and that's saying alot. Let's look at the state of the world and figure out what will happen if the wealthiest 10% stop dieing: Great acceleration of an already expanding wealth gap. Younger generations locked out of the high end of the business and political world. (The good old boys will become the good ancient boys)Greater acceleration of the human population.

These are not good things for the world, they are the kinds of things that fuel wars.

Re:A cure for death (1)

atchon (968296) | more than 7 years ago | (#19694953)

This is a cure for death, unless I'm badly mistaken.

It inhibits the procaspases from being activated into caspases. These also are activated by faulty DNA during DNA duplication. So if you were to take these constantly to not die, you would have a lot of problems as many of the environmental cancers are caused by over exposure your body can handle limited amounts of most things like UV light, smoke etc. By inhibiting the caspases you would be inhibiting apoptosis of cells with small DNA mutations which otherwise would not be a major problem. Smoking has other problems associated with it other than DNA mutations though so its not really a great example.

Reproducing would be a fun experience too if you were to make it a life plan to take these as you would have a huge chance of having one very messed up child.

Re:Anybody else think... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19693855)

I thought it was about Mobile phone radiation suicide,

Or Suicide bombers that use cell phones to get instructions.

iSatin ??? (0, Flamebait)

jdray (645332) | more than 7 years ago | (#19693929)

iSatan ?? Oh, Apple's gone too far this time...

better way (0)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 7 years ago | (#19693695)

My favorite way to prevent my cells from killing themselves is just to get cancer. It's easier, too.

In other news: if you care about your daughter, get her vaccinated for HPV.

Re:better way (2, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 7 years ago | (#19693777)

In other news: if you care about your daughter, get her vaccinated for HPV.

If you care about other people's daughters, get your son vaccinated for HPV too.

Re:better way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19693851)

my foot has a bad case of HPV.

i'm serious, actually. 10 points for whoever figures out what i mean.

Re:better way (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 7 years ago | (#19693913)

Your plantar warts are HPV, but not the form of HPV prevented by the vaccine.

Re:better way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19694099)

I've had one of those since 1986, despite treatment. Sucks.

Re:better way (2, Insightful)

syntaxglitch (889367) | more than 7 years ago | (#19693897)

In other news: if you care about your daughter, get her vaccinated for HPV.

If you care about other people's daughters, get your son vaccinated for HPV too.
Or, if you DON'T care about other people's daughters, campaign against the vaccine for political reasons. Because nothing says "moral principles" like wanting kids to die from a preventable disease!

excuse me (1)

r00t (33219) | more than 7 years ago | (#19696465)

Nobody is demanding that the vaccine be banned.

We just don't want the government demanding that weird concoctions be injected into our bodies.

Is that so bad?

Re:excuse me (1)

fbjon (692006) | more than 7 years ago | (#19698087)

Yes, yes it is bad. Or do you want to argue that market forces will cause people to get their needed vaccinations?

needed? (1)

r00t (33219) | more than 7 years ago | (#19698195)

Even if I did want to have unprotected sex with a different person each day, it's my right to take the risk.

I can also choose to go hang-gliding, or would you ban that too? My life, my choice. Butt out.

Shall I run your life? I'd love to: No smoking anywhere, no alcohol ever, no usage of vehicles or sharp knives, floss your teeth after every meal, wear a helmet at all times, take your vitamins, no Sun exposure ever (even via windows), eat your broccoli and Brussels sprouts, no soda or coffee, drink 12 glasses of water every day, stay at least 20 feet away from staircases, monthly colonoscopy exam...

For myself, I prefer freedom. For you, there are certain things required for your own good. I can't have you making bad decisions.

Re:needed? (1)

jibjibjib (889679) | more than 7 years ago | (#19698617)

And if I want to shoot a different person every day, is it my right to take that risk too?

The key difference you have failed to notice between a vaccine and the safety-related examples you have listed, is that by being vaccinated you are helping to stop the spread of a disease and so actually avoiding harm to people other than yourself.

Re:better way (2, Insightful)

catbutt (469582) | more than 7 years ago | (#19693965)

They don't recommend that as yet. However, it seems like you'd get more milage out of recommending vaccinnating the ones who can be most directly hurt by the disease.

Re:better way (2, Funny)

nick_davison (217681) | more than 7 years ago | (#19694015)

In other news: if you care about your daughter, get her vaccinated for HPV.

If you care about other people's daughters, get your son vaccinated for HPV too.
I even care about internet pornstars, I'm vaccinating my dog, horse, goat and pig for HPV.

Re:better way (1)

profplump (309017) | more than 7 years ago | (#19694125)

If there were an approved treatment for males that might make more sense.

Re:better way (1)

Pendersempai (625351) | more than 7 years ago | (#19694377)

Men can get vaccinated. The FDA approved the vaccine for women, but it can be prescribed off-label for men. Doctors prescribe medicine off-label all the time.

Re:better way (0, Flamebait)

Old Benjamin (1068464) | more than 7 years ago | (#19696521)

In other news, if you want to condone your child having sex, get them vaccinated for HPV

condone your child having sex (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19696825)

if you want to condone your child having sex, get them vaccinated for HPV
Because painting sex as dirty, ugly, sinful and something to hide as if it was not a natural part of being human by religious zealots has worked so well at reducing teen pregnancies in the past. How about having an honest discussion with them about the pro's and cons? Give them your trust and support for THEIR decisions. Get them a NORPLANT 5 year contraceptive as well if they want one, so that pressure for sex from a boyfriend doesn't have to create a pregnancy crisis.

Re:better way (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19693921)

In other news: mind your own business and go fuck yourself

Re:better way (3, Insightful)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 7 years ago | (#19694133)

In other news: mind your own business and go fuck yourself
Contagious, cancer-causing diseases are a matter of public health, and are therefore everyone's business, Mr. Coward.

BTW: The seemingly ultra-religious, daddy's-little-angel types have sex in high school, too. They are just better at lying about it.

Re:better way (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19694405)

I won't tell you to put your father on Vioxx or your wife on Thalidomide

Don't tell me what drugs to give my daughter, jackass

Re:better way (2)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 7 years ago | (#19694647)

Those drugs don't have anything to do with contagious diseases, so they are not a public health issue. You fail at logic. And at love for your own children. You have so much to be proud of.

Re:better way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19695873)

When your quaint little untested drug can prevent HIV and herpes, along with the risk of permanent infertility from chlamydia, you go ahead and give me a ring. Until then, I and many others like me will rely on the ONLY way to prevent all of the above + HPV. And that's because I love my children. So why don't you just go ahead and shut your self-righteous fucking pie hole and let the grownups talk.

Re:better way (1)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 7 years ago | (#19696507)

When your quaint little untested drug can prevent HIV and herpes, along with the risk of permanent infertility from chlamydia, you go ahead and give me a ring. Until then, I and many others like me will rely on the ONLY way to prevent all of the above + HPV.
Which is... what? A chastity belt? I mean, you can't seriously believe that telling kids not to have sex will actually keep them from doing it. Statistics have shown that it doesn't work.

In any case, railing against the HPV vaccine is ridiculous. It's like urging people not to wear seat belts, because the only way to prevent all injuries from car accidents is to avoid cars entirely. The fact is, most of us will ride in a car at some point in our lives, and we'd better know how to keep ourselves as safe as possible when that happens.

Your daughter will have sex at some point in her life. Maybe you'll get lucky and she'll wait till she's married, but what are you going to say if, for example, her husband cheats on her and she gets HPV from him? Blame him all you want, but that isn't going to cure her HPV. Or maybe you won't get so lucky, and god forbid, she'll get raped on the way to school. All the preaching in the world won't help there.

So why don't you just go ahead and shut your self-righteous fucking pie hole and let the grownups talk.
With an attitude like that, I'm guessing you aren't one of them.

Re:better way (1)

fbjon (692006) | more than 7 years ago | (#19698093)

When your quaint little untested drug can prevent HIV and herpes, along with the risk of permanent infertility from chlamydia, you go ahead and give me a ring. Until then, I and many others like me will rely on the ONLY way to prevent all of the above + HPV.
Condoms FTW. Wait, you didn't mean bullshit like "abstinence", I hope?

Re:better way (1)

aspjut (653084) | more than 7 years ago | (#19697733)

In other news: mind your own business and go fuck yourself
Contagious, cancer-causing diseases are a matter of public health, and are therefore everyone's business, Mr. Coward.
You misunderstood. They are advocating abstinence.

Cancer (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19693705)

Since cancer is uncontrolled cell growth, has increased risk for cancer been looked at?

Re:Cancer (3, Interesting)

NeverVotedBush (1041088) | more than 7 years ago | (#19693839)

I immediately thought the same thing. There is an article in the New Scientific American about how cancer cells modify their environment so that the processes that kill off cells are inhibited. This new treatment could lead to similar. On the other hand, would you rather be dead or brain dead or increase the chance you get cancer?

This could also be a clue in how to treat and kill off cancer cells.

Interesting stuff.

cancerlicious (2)

Tol Dantom (1114605) | more than 7 years ago | (#19696281)

Considering that this is a transient treatment, the problem with cancer will probably depend on the length of the treatment, which probably would not lead to a very large increase in cancer rates. There is still a lot of ground to cover for cancerous cells to become malignant (angiogenesis, telomere limits) and these sorts of things take decades of accumulated mutation and selection.

A three month suppression of apoptosis and then a return to homeostasis is probably safer than a three month vacation to Hawaii, after which the genetic damage is permanent.

Re:Cancer (1)

enjerth (892959) | more than 7 years ago | (#19694417)

While that's an interesting question, I don't think it should be a consideration for suppressing or delaying the production of the drug.

If it comes to it, I'd rather die from cancer 5 years after a heart attack rather than die from the same heart attack.

no worries (1)

r00t (33219) | more than 7 years ago | (#19696301)

During the time of your treatment, numerous almost-cancer cells get to be cancer cells.

You're not going to keep taking this drug, are you? Take it once, it wears off... that's not a lot of time for nasty things to grow.

Bad headline (-1, Flamebait)

Nimey (114278) | more than 7 years ago | (#19693717)

It made me think of something the government would give to Guantanamo prisoners.

s/cell/cellular/ would have been much clearer (and who cares if some idiot's cell phone autodarwinates?).

Cancer Man would be proud! (2, Informative)

smellsofbikes (890263) | more than 7 years ago | (#19693725)

Cessation of programmed cell death is often called cancer.
I'm sure they have all sorts of good research and know lots about this, and I freely grant that a 10x increase in your chances of getting cancer somewhere down the line beats Parkinson's, but this still sounds really scary.

Re:Cancer Man would be proud! (4, Informative)

nonsequitor (893813) | more than 7 years ago | (#19693863)

This is for emergency response to strokes, heart attack, etc to prevent healthy cells from being destroyed by the enzymes which cause apoptosis. It would follow common sense that the inhibitor would be out of the system within a day or so after treatment with the drug is ended. In conclusion, RTFA.

Re:Cancer Man would be proud! (1)

nten (709128) | more than 7 years ago | (#19694881)

A previous story indicated that apoptosis was responsible for the tissue damage caused when blood oxygenation was resumed, even up to several hours after the cessation of breathing and brain activity. If this drug could be spread to all tissues (including brain), we might be in for some Herbert West style fun.

Re:Cancer Man would be proud! (1)

Randall311 (866824) | more than 7 years ago | (#19695115)

I guess it's pretty fucking useless against Parkinson's then isn't it?

Re:Cancer Man would be proud! (1)

Orestesx (629343) | more than 7 years ago | (#19693977)

Yes, "unwanted cell death" is inaccurate. Apoptosis has a function for survival (mustn't it, in order to exist in life as prevalently as it does?)

Re:Cancer Man would be proud! (3, Interesting)

smellsofbikes (890263) | more than 7 years ago | (#19694157)

Your fingers are formed by apoptosis, in fact. Well, so is most everything: it all grows as tissue, and programmed cell death is what allows tissues to separate. (One interesting area of research is how the body forms hormone concentration gradients that rsult in regional apoptosis, leading to formation of eg fingers from continuous tissue.) But of course that's way prior to birth. Once you're born, having injured or marked cells commit suicide is, generally speaking, a very good thing, and messing with their ability to do so has some interesting implications.

Re:Cancer Man would be proud! (1)

catbutt (469582) | more than 7 years ago | (#19694203)

They probably should have said "unwanted cell death" was the definition of "unwanted apoptosis". Since what they are talking about is stopping the sort of apoptosis that is problematic.

(mustn't it, in order to exist in life as prevalently as it does?)
Not necessarily. Cancer is prevalent, but it is not a function for survival. Well, not survival of the host anyway.

Re:Cancer Man would be proud! (1)

redalien (711170) | more than 7 years ago | (#19695693)

Indeed, evolution favours advantages by selecting against disadvantages. If there is no disadvantage there is no reason for it to disappear.

Re:Cancer Man would be proud! (1)

Trifthen (40989) | more than 7 years ago | (#19694087)

It would only be temporary.

The problem is, when a cell is deprived of oxygen, it gets marked for death as soon as it's reactivated. Hence, perfectly salvageable tissue, some that can't be replaced easily like heart muscle, dies merely as an inherent precaution.

Now, I don't know about you... but I'd rather have a slight increased risk of cancer somewhere down the line, than be dead now thanks to my body's overzealous attempt to keep me healthy.

This is a Good Thing (tm).

Re:Cancer Man would be proud! (2, Insightful)

Manchot (847225) | more than 7 years ago | (#19694117)

Of course, TFA also mentions that this method allows researchers to study apoptosis further, by allowing them to observe individual cells undergoing the process. Conceivably, once the mechanisms of the process are understood better, it will eventually be possible to trigger apoptosis in malignant cells (i.e., curing cancer). This development could possibly have revolutionary implications in the realm of cancer treatment.

Apoptosis not "unwanted" (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19693733)

As stated in the second paragraph of the article, apoptosis is simply the process of cell death--a something perfectly normal and required by the body. Hardly "unwanted"! See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apoptosis [wikipedia.org]

Re:Apoptosis not "unwanted" (2, Insightful)

F-3582 (996772) | more than 7 years ago | (#19694279)

Man, but I'd love to have some webs between my fingers! Or a few billions more brain cells... Or a bazillion T-Lymphocytes trying to kill me... On the other hand, such medication would indeed be great for all those people who were cut off from oxygen for too long and whose myocard cells usually go into apoptosis once they're re-oxygenated.

Re:Apoptosis not "unwanted" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19694681)

I was about to make this remark. Reporters, please pay attention to important details!

Re:Apoptosis not "unwanted" (1, Insightful)

Trifthen (40989) | more than 7 years ago | (#19694763)

I disagree.

When I've just had a heart attack, and apoptosis would rather kill 40% of my heart tissue, thereby killing me outright, than possibly increase my cancer risk, it's most certainly unwanted.

For emergency purposes, stopping apoptosis is perfectly valid, and in fact desired to the grim alternative. I'd assume that once the treatment is out of your system, apoptosis is no longer suppressed, and everything goes back to normal... well, after a triple bypass to avoid future heart-attacks due to clogged arteries.

This could also mean prolonged stasis. If cells only die when they reactivate, things like brain death due to lack of oxygen could be almost completely eliminated. Again, apoptosis here is absolutely unwanted. Let's see... death now or possibly cancer later. Yeah, that's a tough one.

Re:Apoptosis not "unwanted" (0)

Penguinshit (591885) | more than 7 years ago | (#19695289)

It is unwanted in cases like ALS. A French company called Trophos also works on this problem. [trophos.com]

Apoptosis (5, Informative)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 7 years ago | (#19693767)

The summary characterizes apoptosis as unwanted cell suicide which, in most cases, it most certainly is not. Apoptosis is one of the natural mechanisms by which the body eliminates cells which have become damaged, dysfunctional, or are simply no longer needed.

Especially with respect to cancer research apoptosis is a pathway which we seek to activate. Cells which become cancerous are supposed to enter apoptotic cycles and prevent themselves from creating tumors within the tissue. Cancerous cells manage to win the race condition between apoptotic and survival pathways but, in terms of the mechanisms at work within the cell, are tottering on the edge. Many new cancer treatments rely on this on the edge circumstance in the interest of introducing a pharmacologically active substance into the body which will cause cancerous cells, on the edge of apoptosis, to move fully into apoptotic function.

Since the cells in the body are constantly in a state of self-regulation and interregulation it is possible that cells which enter apoptosis too easily are similarly causes of diseases. It is this set of conditions that the researchers in the article wish to treat.

Don't be misled about what apoptosis actually is, though, or be swayed to view it as good or bad. Different conditions within the tissue call for different actions within the cells which make up that tissue.

Has anyone tried actually LISTENING to the cells?? (5, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 7 years ago | (#19693783)

Most suicide attempts are cries for help, you know.

Re:Has anyone tried actually LISTENING to the cell (1)

brunascle (994197) | more than 7 years ago | (#19693899)

there's a good emo joke in here somewhere.

Won't do any good. (5, Funny)

Aqua_boy17 (962670) | more than 7 years ago | (#19693941)

All my cells are filled with emo-globin.

Re:Won't do any good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19694819)

Best. Comment. Ever.

Re:Has anyone tried actually LISTENING to the cell (5, Funny)

eln (21727) | more than 7 years ago | (#19693985)

I agree, this rush to drugs to treat suicidal cells is just going to create a generation of drug-dependent artificially happy zombie cells, and the last thing I want is for my cells to be wandering aimlessly around my body with a perma-grin, glazed eyes, and an irresistible urge to eat my delicious brain. Psychotherapy should be tried before resorting to drugs. Even if drugs are determined to be the best course, they should still be coupled with regular therapy sessions.

I don't get it. (2, Funny)

drsquare (530038) | more than 7 years ago | (#19693805)

Why would you want to stop prisoners killing themselves? It would save tax-payers millions, and would be a much more effective form of justice than today's "OK you ran over a granny whilst drunk and stoned off your head on your way back from a bank robbery, you're sentenced to six months with sky TV, pool table and gym, out in two months due to good behaviour, plus free benefits if you can't be bothered working" form of justice that is doled out today, in Britain at least.

Mod Parent Up (1)

Esteban (54212) | more than 7 years ago | (#19693891)

When I saw the headline, I thought "Wha? Somehow they've come up with drugs that target depressed prisoners?" Then I RTF summary and, eventually, RTFA. Parent's pretty funny. Though I could have done it better.

Re:I don't get it. (1)

Enleth (947766) | more than 7 years ago | (#19694191)

Looks like we've got an ultimate evidence for a recent discussion of what a Slashdotter needs to read before posting a comment - a headline, that is. I'm all for carving this one in a stone as a memorial for future generations of Slashdotters...

Re:I don't get it. (1)

radarvectors (103651) | more than 7 years ago | (#19695961)

Yeah, I work in Law Enforcement. In true Slashdot fashion, I read the headline and formed an opinion. Drug prisoners? Okay, if it keeps them from offing themselves. Being interested, I read further... apoptosis? Damn, I didn't realize there was a word for it. Unwanted cell suicide? Aren't they all? Well, most of them anyway. I really need to start reading the articles.

Re:I don't get it. (1)

dynomitejj (1113319) | more than 7 years ago | (#19697289)

I did 5 years Fed time in Texarkana TX and I can tell you that it ain't no picnic. The problem with American justice is that rapist, murders and child molesters get very little time.. except murder.. we've got life or good old capital punishment for that... and someone getting busted with 100 pounds of pot get's 10 years. There was one guy that I remember that mailed 10 hits of acid in the mail which made it a federal crime and he got a mandatory minimum 10 years. I'm convinced that really there is only the caught and uncaught. Most of the people in there were pretty good people.... ok maybe that's questionable.... but really.. can you say that you've never done anything that you could go to prison for ? And your OK with being treated like a lab rat while your in there ? Oh yeah..I wish I could have gotten out in 2 months with good behavior... that's a fantasy. There has been no parole since 1987. You get 52 days per year off for good behavior. That's all you get. They want to make sure they keep you around to do experiments with :)

Re:I don't get it. (1)

dynomitejj (1113319) | more than 7 years ago | (#19697407)

I know this thread has nothing to do with prisoners and suicide, but I could not resist responding to that comment. I actually saw several people commit suicide while I was in there, and guards who moved slow as syrup when a guy had a heart attack and I thanking god that I did not have any health problems.

From the Dept. of Inadvisably Applied Science (2, Interesting)

SwordsmanLuke (1083699) | more than 7 years ago | (#19693823)

Boy, this has got "Unintended Consequences" written all over it. Seriously, I hope that this works brilliantly and the thousands of sufferers of Parkinson's disease etc. are able to be helped by this, but it seems like it could be a very shiny wrapper around an all new Pandora's box.

Re:From the Dept. of Inadvisably Applied Science (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19694515)

All seriousness aside, imagine the unintended consequences.... like a guy high on PCP AND pumped up with this drug.

I have 80 million hit points.

Here's to hoping... (1)

cromar (1103585) | more than 7 years ago | (#19693825)

I am probably going to get Alzheimer's disease (my grandfather had it, and it skips a generation). Insight prevention/treatment of it happens slowly. I hope this is different.

Re:Here's to hoping... (1)

stox (131684) | more than 7 years ago | (#19693971)

You may be lucky, it looks like relief is on the way for Alzheimer's patients. Bapineuzmab is about to enter phase III trials. It is an anti-body which attacks beta-amyloid which is thought to be the cause of Alzheimer's. Entering phase II trials is a vaccine which also attack beta-amyloid. Both are being produced by an Irish pharmaceutical company, Elan, is partnership with Wyeth.

apoptosis unwanted? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19693833)

Apoptosis is a natural cell mechanism, and one of our bigger problems (cancer) is caused when cells _fail_ to commit suicide.

I suppose apoptosis-preventing drugs might have their place, but don't smoke or try to get a tan while you're taking them.

Re:apoptosis unwanted? (1)

mr_java66 (1079393) | more than 7 years ago | (#19694235)

First understand how to block it where you don't want it, and that could perhaps help to understand how to stimulate it where you want it. This could be the start of a new-new line of CANCER drugs, maybea a general cure.

Watch the cancer cells... (1)

DTemp (1086779) | more than 7 years ago | (#19694049)

Your body currently has a bunch of cancerous cells here and there throughout. But you'll probably live a long, healthy life, and never be diagnosed with cancer. Why? Because apoptosis (among other cell processes) helps kill the cells that are off-track and FUBARed.

This technique better be applied very specifically to cells and not "generally" to a mass of tissue, otherwise you'll be making the equivalent of a petri dish (read: idealized growing environment) for cancer.

Re:Watch the cancer cells... (1)

Klaus_1250 (987230) | more than 7 years ago | (#19696455)

But you'll probably live a long, healthy life, and never be diagnosed with cancer.
Not sure about the latest numbers, but the risk of getting cancer as a male used to be about 50%. Of course, a healthy lifestyle, ... ,etc will put the odds in your favor.

Side Effects (1)

Aqua OS X (458522) | more than 7 years ago | (#19694051)

:side effect may include nausea, vomiting, and super cancer:

Cell Suicide Drugs? (1)

k4_pacific (736911) | more than 7 years ago | (#19694081)

A pill to prevent cell suicide? Like in jail? Reminds me of the time I was arrested for littering. It was two Thanksgivings ago, that is, two years ago on Thanksgiving...

The cop took me to the jail, he says, "Kid, I'm gonna put you in the cell, I need your wallet and your belt."

I says, "I understand you want my wallet so I don't have any money to spend in the cell, but why do you need my belt?"

He says, "kid, we don't want any hangings." Of course, he was just making sure, because he also took out the toilet seat so I couldn't hit myself over the head and drown.

Re:Cell Suicide Drugs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19694761)

I heard Alice owns a restaurant where you can get anything that you want.

Re:Cell Suicide Drugs? (1)

Lithdren (605362) | more than 7 years ago | (#19694965)

Reminds me of the time I was arrested for littering....
....The cop took me to the jail, he says, "Kid, I'm gonna put you in the cell....

Jail? for littering?

Excuse the off topic-comment, but what did you toss casually out the car window, a metric ton of toxic waste?

Re:Cell Suicide Drugs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19695431)

since nobody else replied to you - look up the musician Arlo Guthrie and his song, "Alice's Restaurant".

It's the mother of all protest songs.

Re:Cell Suicide Drugs? (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 7 years ago | (#19698529)

But why did he have to take out the toilet seat? Shouldn't it then have been permanently removed?

Whyyyyyyyyy? (-1, Troll)

Spazntwich (208070) | more than 7 years ago | (#19694119)

It's callous, but heart attacks and strokes are some of the most effective culling agents for our population. They get rid of people who are otherwise contributing nothing to society yet costing it tens of thousands of dollars (if not more) to keep alive.

This isn't a technique that will help quality of life much (except for possibly helping Parkinson's patients), but will simply to extend the length of it. Net bad for society.

Re:Whyyyyyyyyy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19695627)

Explain this, please. How exactly does heart attack or stroke selectively kill only those who are "contributing nothing to society"?

I can think of a half dozen lawyers, doctors, and businessmen with whom I am in contact daily, all making 6 and some even 7 figures, who have suffered from heart attack in the past.

Even if, magically, these diseases only attacked those with little impact on the world, that would change nothing. People aren't roses; you don't prune the weak to make the others prettier.

Re:Whyyyyyyyyy? (1)

ChrisMaple (607946) | more than 7 years ago | (#19696539)

Explain this, please. How exactly does heart attack or stroke selectively kill only those who are "contributing nothing to society"?
This is too easy. The ones who die don't contribute any more.

i was way off the mark (1)

um... Lucas (13147) | more than 7 years ago | (#19694393)

I saw the subject and thought that they'ed invented a drug to prevent prisoners to stop commiting suicide. Then i read a sentence or two further and saw that how off base I was. Never the less, i'll comment about it.

So... (1)

Pitr (33016) | more than 7 years ago | (#19694457)

A bit offtopic but, did anyone else think this sounds like a plot device for a zombie movie?

Re:So... (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#19695101)

Yes..but then I think that of every story sounds like a plot device for a Zombie movies....

A few clarifications... (2, Informative)

Pedrito (94783) | more than 7 years ago | (#19694673)

First of all, this doesn't seem like a huge deal. By the time you get to the hospital, most of the cells that are going to die are already undergoing apoptosis (BTW, that's programmed cell death and not necessarily unwanted cell death). The other issue is that hypoxia also causes cell necrosis, which is another form of cell death that's completely different from apoptosis and wouldn't be saved by this kind of drug.

The major issue, however, is simply that most of the cells that are going to die are irreparably damaged byt he time you get to the hospital. They ER will likely give you drug thinners and do whatever else is needed to get oxygen supply back. Not that this drug wouldn't be somewhat helpful, but I'd be really surprised if there's any great improvement in the % of lives saved. And any life saved is certainly worth the effort, but I just don't see this as a major breakthrough.

Now, show me a drug that can selectively induce apoptosis in certain cells, and then we'd have a cure for most forms of cancer (most forms of cancer are the result of cells whose apoptosis pathway is failing for some reason), and that would be a big deal.

Re:A few clarifications... (1)

SetupWeasel (54062) | more than 7 years ago | (#19695905)

They are probably thinking about a nitroglycerin or epinephrine type prescription where high risk patients carry it with them so they can take it immediately if the shit hits the fan.

Re:A few clarifications... (2, Informative)

compro01 (777531) | more than 7 years ago | (#19695967)

as far as i understand it, after a certain time of no oxygen, a "suicide bit" gets set and once oxygen comes back, the cell dies, but not until then.

this would prevent that. the cells might not work for long, but hopefully long enough for replacements to come in, as a sizable number of cells spontaneously dying in the heart or brain tends to lead to death for everything else, but a few cells dying at a time and being replaced wouldn't, which i presume is the intent.

though i can't RTFA (the server is probably on fire), so i dunno if i am even close on this.

Reperfusion (3, Insightful)

Anti_Climax (447121) | more than 7 years ago | (#19694679)

They should probably have a related reading link for the story posted in May [slashdot.org] regarding the discovered consequences of oxygen reperfusion [msn.com] in the human body.

Quick summary: Doctors and scientists are finding that the cells of the heart and brain are still alive after clinical death, but they go into a dormant state. Jolting them back with oxygen and adrenaline after 4-5 minutes seems to kill the otherwise still living cells. A trial run on 34 cardiac patients indicates a significant increase in CPR success when done in a very gradual and controlled manner after that 4-5 minute mark (about 80% success opposed to around 15% for traditional CPR techniques)

Drugs? (1)

euice (953774) | more than 7 years ago | (#19695171)

Drugs ? Emergency Medication? Over here!

I'll say this will be handy (1)

Coraon (1080675) | more than 7 years ago | (#19695965)

Think of the applications for drowning victims too. Especially here in Canada where in the winter you're not dead till you're warm and dead. Now there's a chance that if they flood you with this stuff and get you to a local hospital there's a good chance of no/less brain or heart damage.

apoptosis is quite wanted (1)

nanosquid (1074949) | more than 7 years ago | (#19696363)

Apoptosis is not "unwanted cell suicide". Apoptosis is an essential part of growth and maintenance of organisms. Without apoptosis, your body would be a lump of flesh. If you simply turned off apoptosis in adulthood, your immune system would go haywire, viruses would proliferate, and so would cancer cells.

Some specific forms of apopotosis may be harmful in some cases, but that's rare.

Please, people ... (1)

Chris Daniel (807289) | more than 7 years ago | (#19696387)

Think and read before replying -- apoptosis is, under normal circumstances, a good thing. The whole reason it says "emergency medication" is because that's the type of medication this knowledge would be used for. When cells don't get oxygen for whatever reason (let's say, pulmonary or cardiac failure of some sort), they start to die off. So you'd inject them with some of this if you couldn't get their heart started in time to prevent cell death, or in a similar situation. Seriously, haven't you people ever watched House!? It's never lupus.

really really dont.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19696397)

I'm afraid even this might not save the PS3.

Finally! Undead zombies! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19696715)

At long last! The scientific breakthrough we've all been waiting for: An anti-apoptosis [rcn.com] drug that can be used to create real-life undead zombies!

Cells that would normally have died because everything else around them died can just keep on living. A brain and body will be able to continue to live even while decaying maggoty flesh sloughs off of limbs barely hanging on by strands of connective tissue. Maybe it'll even be possible to take a big dose, "die" by drowning, and get fished out and revived a week later with barnacles growing on your eyeballs and seaweed hanging off you and everything! This is going to be totally awesome!!!

Incredible ramifications for premature death (1)

bigtangringo (800328) | more than 7 years ago | (#19697003)

Linky [msn.com]

In short, just because your heart stops beating doesn't mean your cells are going to die anytime soon. Cells are undergoing (committing?) apoptosis when oxygen is reintroduced, after they have been deprived for 5 minutes or so.

If we could prevent apoptosis, we could conceivably restore life to a person who has been dead for hours. I wonder if that could time could be stretched even further under cold temperatures.

Little error (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19698835)

Apoptosis is not unwanted cell suicide, it is simply cell suicide, which makes healthy sense in certain circumstances. Cancer for instance is overriding the cells ability to commit apoptosis, letting the sick cell multiply indefinitely without dying.
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