Scientists have had a breakthrough from ongoing research made during the past decade. Postdoc student at John Hopkins University, Hogan Tang made the ground-breaking discovery. The assumption has always been that once a cell is on death row, there is no reversal of that decree, made by our body. Astonishingly, he witnessed that this is entirely untrue!
Dr. Denise Montell, at the University of California in Santa Barbara, discovered Tang in 2008. She was beginning her research at John Hopkins University when he contacted her. At first, she was skeptical about the cell death reversal he had witnessed. However, ultimately she invited him to join her lab.
What science has always believed is that once a cell is too damaged, it commits suicide. The name for the process is apoptosis. Initially, a critical molecule called the executioner caspase becomes activated. This molecule dices up the cell until it shrivels. The surrounding cells then devour it.
Tang was experimenting with apoptosis induction in cells. He added a toxin, in this case, ethanol, to cell cultures. Then, he painstakingly removed all of the ethanol. To his utter surprise, the majority of the cells recovered! They literally sprang back to life, even after the administration of the kiss of death!
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