The process of apoptosis removes infected, mutated, and aging cells from the body. Gene-directed apoptosis, or programmed cell death, occurs normally during development and in many pathological conditions. In 1989 the cell surface receptor, Fas (CD95), was identified as the antigen recognized by antibodies that initiate cell death. Normally, Fas initiates cell death by binding the Fas ligand (FasL). Understanding and manipulating the interactions between these two proteins plays a critical role in the study and treatment of cancer, autoimmune diseases, and viral infections.

Traditionally researchers have studied the interactions between Fas and FasL using soluble FasL (sFasL) or anti-Fas monoclonal antibodies (mAbs). Now Lake Placid, N.Y.-based Upstate Biotechnology Inc. offers a less expensive and more potent research tool-a bioactive, lyophilized form of FasL on membranous vesicles.

FasL, a TNF superfamily member, is a mediator of immune responses, and the Fas/FasL system plays a pivotal role in T-cell development...

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