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  • Telomeres And TelomeraseThe Secret To Aging And Cancer
    Geneticist Richard Cawthon says “One estimate is people could live 1,000 years”
    By: Rohan Parikh
  • Telomeres
    Telomeres main function is by preventing chromosomes
    from losing base pair sequences at their ends.
    They also stop chromosomes from fusing to each other.
    Telomeres are the repeating sequences of DNA
    In human blood cells, each time a cell divides, an
    average person loses about 115 base pairs from the
    ends of that cell's telomeres. The length of telomeres
    is about 8,000 base pairs at birth. As people age they
    can have as low as 1,500 in elderly people.
  • How Are Telomeres Related To
    Aging & Cancer
    Aging- Geneticist Richard Cawthon did an experiment where he
    divided people in to two groups, one group of people with long
    telomeres and one group of people with short telomeres. He found
    that the group with long telomeres lived longer and were healthier
    than those with shorter telomeres. He concluded that telomeres play
    a key role in aging and overall health.
    Cancer-If a cell begins to become cancerous, it divides more often,
    and its telomeres become very short. If its telomeres get too short,
    the cell could die. Studies have found shortened telomeres in many
    cancers, including pancreatic, bone, prostate, bladder, lung, kidney,
    and head and neck.
  • Telomerase
    Telomerase (telomere terminal transferase) is an
    enzyme made of protein and RNA that help
    chromosomes by adding TTAGGG sequences to the
    end of existing chromosomes to keep telomeres.
    Telomerase is found in fetal tissues, adult germ cells and
    also tumor cells.
    In young cells, telomerase keeps telomeres from wearing
    down too much. But as cells divide repeatedly, there is
    not enough telomerase, so the telomeres grow shorter
    and the cells age.
  • How Is Telomerase Related Aging and Cancer
    Aging-As cells divide repeatedly(50-70 times in their lifetime),
    there is not enough telomerase for all the divisions of the cell. The
    telomeres grow shorter and the cells age. Scientists have used
    telomerase to stop cells from aging.
    Cancer- The whole point of telomerase is to preserve telomeres by keep
    adding telomeres to the chromosome. And Telomerase has been
    increased in cancer cells, which means cancer cells are theoretically
    immortal. Scientists have used telomerase to divide cells far beyond the
    normal limit and the cells did not become cancerous.
  • Technology Behind
    Telomeres And Telomerase
    If telomerase makes cancer cells immortal, it
    could theoretically prevent normal cells from
    aging. We (humans) all have the gene to make
    telomerase, but it’s switched off.
    Scientists are exploring the possibility of
    inserting a gene for telomerase into aging cells or
    developing a drug to turn on the gene for
    telomerase. There is still research going on how to
    make the cancer cells stop getting telomerase.
  • In Theory
    Measuring telomerase may be a new way to detect
    cancer. If scientists can learn how to stop
    telomerase, they might be able to fight cancer by
    making cancer cells age and die.
    But there are risks. Blocking telomerase could impair
    fertility, stop healing, and production of blood cells and
    immune system cells.
    If telomerase could be used routinely to immortalize
    human cells, it would be theoretically possible to mass
    produce any human cell for transplantation.
  • Works Cited
    Genetic Science Learning Center. "Are Telomeres the Key toAging and Cancer?." Learn.Genetics
    5 February 2011<> .
    Aten, David. "What are telomeres and telomerase?." Shay/Wright Laboratory. N.p., September 6, 2007.
    Web. 5 Feb 2011. <>.
    "Graphic: Telomeres and Telomerase." Web. 5 Feb 2011.
    "Telomerase." Geron. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Feb 2011.
    "Regulation of telomere length in normal and cancer cells by telomerase." Web. 5 Feb 2011.