Everywhere in our body are cells whose functionality is essential for our general state of health. They are the smallest unit of life, but they play a major role in the human body because a multitude of vital processes take place in them. They store certain substances, such as oxygen, and release them when needed. They also carry out their own metabolic processes to produce energy. The small power stations of our cells, the mitochondria, utilise the energy gained from food from our blood and make it available to our body when needed. In addition, they can multiply, communicate with each other and send vital signals to other cells and organs.
Autophagy is the central cellular process enabling us experience the longest phase of life in a self-determined and healthy way.
The importance of autophagy in biomedicine has been recognized to the extent that Dr. Yoshinori Ohsumi was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2016 for his extended understanding of this vital cellular mechanism.