MrErlenmeyer writes: Many injuries and diseases including heart attacks, stroke, and Parkinson's cause healthy cells to kill themselves. A group of scientists at Washington University in Saint Louis believe they have a lead on how to stop apoptosis, unwanted cell suicide, and thus minimize the tissue damage that occurs as a result of these injuries. They designed drugs that halt the actions of executioner caspases, proteins that as a molecular wrecking crew. Other scientists had found that a chemical called isatin could prevent tissue damage in rabbit hearts that were deprived of oxygen. This was the starting point for the team of researchers in Missouri. By making some changes to the molecule, they were able to develop an even more effective molecule. With some further refinement, this may lead to a new class of emergency medications.