50 years on and still very much alive: ‘apoptosis: a basic biological phenomenon with wide-ranging implications in tissue kinetics’

Nössing, C. and Ryan, K. M. (2023) 50 years on and still very much alive: ‘apoptosis: a basic biological phenomenon with wide-ranging implications in tissue kinetics’. British Journal of Cancer, 128(3), pp. 426-431. (doi: 10.1038/s41416-022-02020-0) (PMID:36369364) (PMCID:PMC9938139)

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Cell death is part of the lifecycle of every multicellular organism. Nineteenth-century pathologists already recognised that organised forms of cell death must exist to explain the demise and turnover of cells during metamorphosis (of insects), embryogenesis and normal tissue homoeostasis [1]. Nevertheless, Kerr, Wyllie and Currie in their seminal paper of 1972, were the first to collate and define the distinct morphological features of controlled cell death in different contexts [2]. To describe the processes of cell deletion observed under both physiological and pathological conditions, they coined the term ‘Apoptosis’ (derived from the Greek word ‘ἀπόπτωσις’, meaning ‘dropping off or falling off’ of petals from flowers). Kerr, Wyllie and Currie defined apoptosis as a mechanism ‘complementary to mitosis in the regulation of animal cell populations’. In addition, they already recognised the potential to use this programmed form of cell death for cancer therapy, but they also emphasised the occurrence of apoptosis during cancer development. In this article, some 50 years after its initial publication in The British Journal of Cancer, we revaluate and put the authors initial assumptions and general concepts about apoptosis into the context of modern-day biology.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:Cancer Research UK grants A22903 and A31287.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Nössing, Christoph and Ryan, Professor Kevin
Authors: Nössing, C., and Ryan, K. M.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Cancer Sciences
Journal Name:British Journal of Cancer
Publisher:Springer Nature
ISSN (Online):1532-1827
Published Online:11 November 2022
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2022 The Authors
First Published:First published in British Journal of Cancer 128(3): 426-431
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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