Potential therapeutic applications of autophagy

Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2007 Apr;6(4):304-12. doi: 10.1038/nrd2272.


Autophagy is a dynamic process of subcellular degradation, which has recently sparked great interest as it is now recognized to be involved in various developmental processes and various diseases including cancer and neurodegeneration. Autophagy can function as a cytoprotective mechanism; however, it also has the capacity to cause cell death. A better understanding of autophagy is needed to allow its manipulation for therapeutic purposes, and new insights into the molecular mechanisms of autophagy are now leading to the discovery of exciting new potential drug targets.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic / pharmacology
  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic / therapeutic use
  • Autophagy / genetics
  • Autophagy / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / genetics
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / pathology
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / therapy*
  • Protein Kinases / physiology
  • Sirolimus / pharmacology
  • Sirolimus / therapeutic use
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases


  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic
  • Protein Kinases
  • MTOR protein, human
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Sirolimus