The process of cell death is called apoptosis. In fact, for our organism – it is a real “routine” because every day, for various reasons, a person loses billions of cells. Apoptosis can be like with a “plus” and “minus”. In the first case, the body gets rid of cells that, for example, can provoke cancer, but Alzheimer’s disease has already destroyed healthy cells.

A group of scientists from Stanford University under the leadership of James Ferrel and Sanjay Chang under the microscope, examined in detail the process of destruction of the eggs of the frog Xenopus, which is essentially a large living cells.

As it turned out, the process of cell death “starts” at the time of damage to one of its sites, resulting in releasing special chemical substance, referred to as the “signal of death”. It provokes a kind of chain reaction – “trigger wave” propagating to the adjacent areas of cells that also begin to emit a similar “death” signals. Thus triggers massive cell death. And so it will continue as long as the “signal of death” finally lose its force.

Scientists were able to measure the “rate of cell death” to 30 micrometers per minute or 1.8 mm/hour. Understanding the process of self-organization of cells in the human body, namely, the liberation of the body from cells that represent a threat to him, might allow in the future to develop new methods of treatment of cancer, diseases of the brain and even prevent hair loss.

Source — Stanford University