Scientists have found a way to trick cancer cells into committing suicide. Most living cells contain a protein called procaspase-3, which, when activated, changes into the executioner enzyme caspase-3 and initiates programmed cell death, called apoptosis. In cancer cells, however, the signaling pathway to procaspase-3 is broken. As a result, cancer cells escape destruction and grow into tumors.
Paul J. Hergenrother, a professor of chemistry at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and in the publication journal Nature Chemical Biology says, "We have identified a small, synthetic compound that directly activates procaspase-3 and induces apoptosis. By bypassing the broken pathway, we can use the cells' own machinery to destroy themselves."
The researchers tested the compound's efficacy in cell cultures and in three mouse models of cancer. The researchers also showed that PAC-1 killed cancer cells in 23 tumors obtained from a local hospital.
Cell death was correlated with the level of procaspase-3 present in the cells, with more procaspase-3 resulting in cell death at lower concentrations of PAC-1.
Perhaps, we can use hypnotherapy to visualize activating these executioner enzymes.