Harnessing the complex relationship between mitosis and cell death


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Pascal Meier1
1The Institute of Cancer Research

Abstract

Cell death and inflammation are ancient processes of fundamental biological importance in both normal physiology and cancer. The recent observation that cell death regulatory components have dual roles in cell death and inflammation suggests that these proteins function, not primarily to kill, but to coordinate tissue repair and remodelling. This perspective unifies cell death components as positive regulators of tissue repair that replaces malfunctioning or damaged tissues and enhances the resilience of epithelia to insult. Much remains to be learned about whether therapy induced cell death, even if decreasing tumour size, causes the production of signals that contribute to relapse or metastasis by stimulating the survival and expansion of small numbers of cells capable of seeding a new tumour.

Pascal Meier will discuss the complex relationship between cell death and inflammation, and elaborate on its impact on tissue health and disease. In particular he will focus on unexpected new insights into how components of the cell death machinery intersect with the mitotic checkpoint to ensure accurate chromosome segregation and prevent the establishment of aberrant phenotypes that would otherwise lead to evolvability (chromosomal instability), favouring tumour evolution, heterogeneity, acquisition of drug resistance and heighten risk for tumour relapse.