Autophagy as a Therapeutic Target in Multiple Diseases
Autophagy represents a major route for degradation of aggregated cellular proteins and dysfunctional organelles. Alterations in autophagy are thought to play an important role in the pathogenesis of many diseases—for example, components of the autophagy pathway may be compromised in various central nervous system disorders. Studies have demonstrated that up-regulation of autophagy leads to decreased levels of toxic aggregate-prone proteins, and are beneficial in the context of various models of neurodegeneration. The autophagy machinery interfaces with many cellular stress-response pathways, and recent studies link defects in autophagy to chronic inflammation and immune-related processes. The regulation of autophagy in cancer cells can enhance tumor cell survival, yet can also suppress the initiation of tumor growth. Understanding the signaling pathways involved in the regulation of autophagy is crucial to the development of anticancer therapies.
This symposium will review molecular mechanisms of autophagy and its impairment across diverse diseases, and examines ongoing drug discovery strategies for modulating autophagy for therapeutic benefits.
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