Stanford University scientists measure the rate of cell death

The process of cell death is called apoptosis. In fact, for our body, this is a real “routine”, since every day for various reasons a person loses billions of cells. Apoptosis can be either a plus or a minus sign. In the first case, the body gets rid of cells that, for example, are capable of provoking cancer, but in Alzheimer's disease, already healthy cells are destroyed.

A group of scientists from Stanford University led by James Ferrell and Xianzhui Cheng studied in detail the process of death of eggs of the frog Xenopus, which are essentially large living cells, under a microscope.

As it turned out, the process of cell death "starts" at the moment of damage to one of its sections, resulting in the release of a special chemical called the "death signal". It, in turn, provokes a kind of chain reaction - a "trigger wave", spreading to neighboring areas of the cell, which also begin to emit such "deadly" signals. Thus, the mechanism of mass cell death is triggered. And this will continue until the "death signal" finally loses its power.

Scientists were able to measure the "rate of cell death" - 30 micrometers per minute or 1.8 mm / hour. Understanding the process of self-organization of cells in the human body, namely, the release of the body from cells that pose a danger to it, may allow in the future to develop new methods of treating cancer, brain diseases and even prevent hair loss.