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Manipulating cell death

Dr. David Andrews, director of Biological Sciences at SRI, is studying the mechanisms that regulate apoptosis, or programmed cell death. The aim is to be able to manipulate cell death—to hasten it, as in cancer, or stave it off, as in neurodegenerative disorders. His lab discovered that Bim, a protein essential to apoptosis, binds to anti-cell-death proteins at two sites. Previously, it was thought to bind at only one site. Published in eLife, this finding could be one reason certain drugs meant to encourage programmed cell death, and thus fight cancer, are unsuccessful.