The 20-year journey yielding a new weapon against cancer

Nearly 30 years ago, the scientific community identified BCL-2 proteins and their role in blocking the ability of cells in the body to undergo a process called programmed cell death or apoptosis, through which the body gets rid of damaged cells. In a person with cancer, this important process does not function right; rather than helping the body kill unhealthy tumor cells, BCL-2 proteins block the ability of tumors to die, allowing the cancer to spread. AbbVie researchers who participated in this decades-long journey share their experiences, the challenges they faced and why the ability to harness BCL-2 to fight cancer is so important.