What is Iron Death in cancer treatment?
Cancer Cancer Treatment Immunotherapy

What is Iron Death in cancer treatment?

Dr. Talia Henkle
Dr. Talia Henkle

In 10 seconds? Ferroptosis is a recently discovered mechanism of cell death. Scientists are exploring ways that ferroptosis – meaning iron death - could be induced to treat drug-resistant cancers.

What do you mean by ‘mechanism of cell death’? Great question! It may seem counterintuitive, but cell death is an essential part of life. Our bodies are constantly killing off cells and growing new ones to keep our bodies in mint condition. Certainly, some types of cell death are unintended (like may occur from a cut), but much cell death is pre-programmed and regulated like a computer's shutdown function. But instead of a singular 'shutdown' button, many different programs are depending on the reason for cell death. Some of these programs are called apoptosis, necrosis, autophagy, and now ferroptosis (only officially recognized since 2012!). In the context of cancer treatment, one of the most exciting features of ferroptosis is its ability to help overcome 'immune tolerance'.


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