Posting in Cancer
It may be possible to add telomerase to the human body and halt the aging process. But the word for that may well be cancer.
Regular readers of SmartPlanet may recall Christina Hernandez' July piece on Weihang Chai of Washington State University, who found a way to kill cancer cells by deactivating the enzyme telomerase, and thus causing them to age and die like normal cells.
Telomerase acts on the ends of DNA strands, which are called telomeres. The 2009 Nobel Prize in Medicine was given for research showing how this works, the telomerase building the equivalent of caps at the end of DNA shoelaces.
If the enzyme keeps building new caps, a DNA strand can replicate indefinitely. It's immortal. But that's what differentiates cancer cells from "normal" ones -- they have the enzyme, they have the secret to immortality. An immortality which kills its host, namely you.
Now Harvard scientists have opened this door, using telomerase to reverse the aging process in mice. Writing in the journal Nature, a group under Ronald DePinho (above, from Harvard) say they "engineered a knock-in allele" that turned the cap-making process back on, making old mice young again.
Here's the problem. Mice make telomerase throughout their lives. People stop making it once we're grown.
It may be possible to add telomerase to the human body and halt the aging process, in other words. But the word for that may well be cancer.
This may be the most bittersweet irony I have ever covered for SmartPlanet. Cancer is caused by the same chemical that can make cells immortal.
Immortality and cancer, two trains running on one line. One train's me and the other's a friend of mine.
Nov 28, 2010
Neither a surprise nor ironic--nearly every powerful medicine we have is also a deadly poison. Telomeres are vital to our understanding of cellular replicative death, but that is only part of the picture for extending life. Resveratrol is a cellular/tissue repair booster...another part of the puzzle. (By the way, resveratrol is unstable, but it has a stable form. Resveratrol doesn't survive well in acidic environments (like your stomach) the stabel form does. It takes an enzyme to flip the two forms-both the stabe;le form of the compound and the enzyme are common in ALL sprouting seeds...and vastly more is available than resveratol itself. One must remember that however much we think we understand, we very, very often find that we were wrong--usually multiple times...the entire basis of the scientific method is that recognition of the fact that we may well be wrong. This is the difference between scientific investigation and religion: Science says we THINK we know. Religion says we're CERTAIN we know. Marketing of such finds is nearly always based upon early results and hyped by the sellers--which doesn't mean they're wrong, just that you need to vet your information sources.
Telomerase is the latest/recycled fountain of youth. A few years ago it was HGH, then resveratrol, now it's telomerase. All of this is bunk that is being marketed by those who are trying to capitalize on it. Want to live a long life? Then, laugh, eat a varied diet in moderation, fast, exercise moderately, avoid smoking and stress, and have good genes and good luck. Charge - nothing.
The teleromase/cancer link was coded in to our genes by the "aliens" who made us from bonobos. Solving the riddle of this entanglement is one of the goals we must reach before they will accept us as their equals. If we don't achieve all of these goals within a certain time limit, we will be relegated to the status of animals, and be treated like property. To see what that would mean, go look at a factory farm, or a slaughter house.
Wasn't this discovered a few years back and you can buy telomerase now but it costs a small fortune... You can do Astragalus and that is where the telomerase molecule is extracted from.. You google Dr. Sears and telomerase, you can find out how to extend your life by reversing ageing for just a few thousand dollars a year. LoL!
If mice make it throughout their lives, why aren't they cancer ridden and always young? I must be missing something in the way this works.
If the body has stopped producing telomerase, how is the cancer able to utilize it? It would seem only children would be susceptible to cancer.
with the rise in obesity in westeran nations and only 10-15% of us who exercise properly, this would create new records for the fattest society because all people would do is continue to reach for new excesses and live unhealthy lifestyles thinking "i'm immortal" now there's an ironly, give people whatever they want in copious portions and instead of using it to help those who are in need, they will sowly destroy themselves with it
I stand corrected. I just realized that Muddy Waters is the original author of the song, though I know it best through Little Feat and George's interpretation.
An irony, yes, but hardly a surprise. Let's face it, cancer was likely not much of a problem for our primitive ancestors. Their life span was simply too short for tumors to have time to grow and impinge on the organism. Nice Lowell George reference. Not enough homage extended to the man, who died way too young. RIP Lowell.