Molecular Mechanisms of Programmed Cell Death

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The 2002 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Sydney Brenner, H. Robert Horvitz, and John E. Sulston for their seminal discoveries concerning genetic regulation of organ development and programmed cell death. This clearly marked the prime importance of understanding the molecular mechanisms controlling cell death. The 1 st International Symposium on Programmed Cell Death was held in the Shanghai Science Center of the Chinese Academy of Sciences on September 8-12, 1996. A number of key issues in apoptosis were discussed at the meeting, and progress in major areas of apopto- sis research was summarized by expert participants at the meeting and published by Plenum Publishing Corporation as a book entitled Programmed Cell Death. In the last six years, we have witnessed a real explosion in our knowledge on how cells undergo apoptosis, thereby participating in various developmental and pathophysiological processes. At this ever- exciting time, we organized the 2nd International Symposium on Programmed Cell Death.