Cell division and cell death are the two predominant physiological processes that regulate tissue homeostasis in the adult organism. The importance of dysregulation of these processes in the pathogenesis of major diseases, such as cancer, myocardial infarction, stroke, atherosclerosis, infection, inflammation and neurodegenerative disorders, is becoming increasingly evident. Hence, attempts to find modulators of the cell cycle and cell death programmes are being made with the hope of creating novel therapeutic approaches to the treatment of these diseases. It is clear that improved understanding of how cells balance life-and-death processes is crucial for this development. In view of this, a Nobel Symposium entitled 'The Cell Cycle and Apoptosis in Disease' was organized in conjunction with the celebration of the 200-year anniversary of the Karolinska Institute in 2010. The symposium focused on the importance of dysregulation of cell cycle/cell death programmes in the pathogenesis of human disease. Three comprehensive reviews based on presentations at this symposium are presented in this issue of the Journal of Internal Medicine. They include a discussion of autophagy in anticancer therapy, the description of a role for type 2 transglutaminase in Huntington's disease and the proposal that 'redox-sensing' mechanisms might act as an orthogonal control in cell cycle and apoptosis signalling.
© 2010 The Association for the Publication of the Journal of Internal Medicine.