Posts Tagged ‘telomeres’

This is how it starts in cheesy horror movies: some scientist goes where he shouldn’t and, next thing you know, we have a zombie apocalypse on our hands:

Today a group of medical researchers reported the discovery of something very intriguing in a type of pancreatic cancer called PanNET. Turns out PanNET is associated with mutations in two genes that help control a part of your DNA that determines whether you die.

Specifically, these genes can artificially lengthen the telomeres, caps on the ends of chromosomes that gradually erode as you grow older. Above, you can see PanNET cells – the glowing pink bits are the areas where the cancer is causing telomere extension. Usually, short telomeres are associated with disease and death. As a result, some scientists believe that keeping telomeres long could be one way to lengthen life (a few tests in mice seem to back this up). PanNET may have just given us two genetic tools to prolong life. The question is, what would a cancer-extended life be like?

This can only end in tears. And brains eaten, but tears, too.

Read Full Post »