Cancer is typically a consequence of imbalance between cell death and proliferation in a way favorable to cell proliferation and survival. Most conventional cancer therapies are based on targeting rapidly growing cancerous cells to block growth or enhance cell death, thereby, restoring the balance between these processes. In many instances, malignancies that develop resistance to current treatment modalities, such as chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and radiotherapy often present the greatest challenge in subsequent management of the patient. Studies have shown that under normal circumstances, cells utilize different death mechanisms, such as apoptosis (programmed cell death), autophagy, mitotic catastrophe, and necrosis to maintain homeostasis and physiological integrity of the organism, but these processes often appear to be altered in cancer. Thus, in recent years developing various strategies for administration of cytotoxic chemotherapeutics in combination with apoptosis-sensitizing reagents is receiving more emphasis. Here, we review the properties of the anti-apoptotic protein, survivin, a member of the inhibitor of apoptosis protein (IAP) family and the clinical feasibility and anti-cancer potential of drugs targeting this protein. We also discuss some key points and concerns that should be taken into consideration while developing drugs that target apoptotic proteins, such as survivin.