Cancer is Crap: Apoptosis

By Leanne Coppen

August 3, 2009 10:42pm

My curiosity about HDAC inhibitors (the class of drug to which Panobinostat belongs) has overtaken my better judgment.  Meaning I went a-Googling, even though I knew beforehand that any explanations I found would be in science-speak and therefore way over my decidedly unscientific head.  However, I did find the following almost plain-language description, featuring actual adjectives:  

“Histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors are emerging as an exciting new class of potential anticancer agents for the treatment of solid and hematological malignancies. In recent years, an increasing number of structurally diverse HDAC inhibitors have been identified that inhibit proliferation and induce differentiation and/or apoptosis of tumour cells in culture and in animal models.”

 Never mind the wishy-washy “potential anti-cancer agents” or the “in culture and in animal models” qualifier. HDAC inhibitors are cancer agents, alright.  And they mean business.  As my extremely scientific cousin Donald wrote me, “Basically I’m glad I’m not a tumour cell on the receiving end of it since the stuff will kick their tiny butts in several different and lethal ways!”  

And if that’s not encouraging enough, may I direct your attention to the word “apoptosis.”  It is my new favourite word.  Apparently, in addition to being strangely enjoyable to say, it actually means “cellular suicide” also known as “programmed cell death.”  

Awfully sinister isn’t it? I picture the cancer cells drinking up Panobinostat like so much poisoned kool-aid, and my little heart gleefully cries, “Apoptosize yourselves, evil tumour cells! Die, die, die!”  

What’s not to love?

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