This proposal is to request support for a Keystone Symposia meeting entitled Cell Death Pathways: Apoptosis, Autophagy and Necrosis, organized by Guido Kroemer, Junying Yuan and Eileen P. White, which will be held in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada from March 12 - 17, 2010. Homeostatic and pathological cell death can occur through a multiplicity of different mechanisms including apoptosis, autophagy, necrosis and others. The morphological and functional definitions of distinct cell death modalities are emerging, and the relationships between different lethal pathways are being determined. However, the exact nature of the molecular switches that determine which subroutines cells disintegrate are elusive. Moreover, the relative contributions of different cell death modalities to the avoidance of cancer or degenerative diseases remain to be defined. In cancer, in particular, where defects in cell death are prevalent and the survival of undead cells enables progression and treatment resistance, restoration of cell death pathways is an important and achievable therapeutic goal. Finally, distinct cell death modalities may remain immunologically silent or trigger an immune response, through mechanisms that are still elusive. The 2010 Keystone Symposia meeting on Cell Death Pathways: Apoptosis, Autophagy and Necrosis will address the normal regulation and pathogenic dysfunction of distinct cell death modalities, present new strategies for therapeutic cancer cell induction and address the immunogenicity of distinct cell death types. Opportunities for interdisciplinary interactions will be significantly enhanced by the concurrent meeting on Metabolism and Cancer Progression, which will share a keynote address and two plenary sessions with this meeting .
Cell death and its regulation are of central importance for biomedical research at many levels: understanding normal tissue biology and the pathogenesis of disease;pharmacological avoidance of unwarranted cell death; and therapeutic destruction of tumor cells. The Keystone Symposia meeting on Cell Death Pathways: Apoptosis, Autophagy and Necrosis will highlight the best current research into cell death switches (which determine whether and how a cell dies) and provide the basic understanding that will drive the invention of powerful clinical tools.