This series of Reviews on cell death explores the creation of new therapies for correcting excessive or deficient cell death in human disease. Signal transduction pathways controlling cell death and the molecular core machinery responsible for cellular self-destruction have been elucidated with unprecedented celerity during the last decade, leading to the design of novel strategies for blocking pathological cell loss or for killing unwanted cells. Thus, an increasing number of compounds targeting a diverse range of apoptosis-related molecules are being explored at the preclinical and clinical levels. Beyond the agents that are already FDA approved, a range of molecules targeting apoptosis-regulatory transcription factors, regulators of mitochondrial membrane permeabilization, and inhibitors or activators of cell death–related proteases are under close scrutiny for drug development.
Douglas R. Green, Guido Kroemer