Cancer manipulates biologically useful systems to its selfish advantage (dual role of autophagy)
Prolonged fasting stimulates autophagy, an intracellular degradation system involved in the disassembly and recycling of unnecessary or dysfunctional cellular components. Autophagy is thought to be part of a coordinated biological process that is important for exposing cancer cells to the immune system, ultimately leading to their weakening and death. However, the relationship between autophagy and cancer is complicated. In a desperate effort to proliferate, cancer cells may exploit autophagy to obtain the cellular components they require for rapid growth. Autophagy may prevent the survival of pre-malignant cells, but the process can also be hijacked as a malignant adaptation by cancer cells to scavenge resources. In this clip, Dr. Valter Longo discusses how autophagy may function in both normal and cancer cells.
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