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Name: Daniel J.
Status: Student
Age: 20s
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Date: N/A 


Question:
I learned some time ago that when a cell becomes cancerous, some of the genes within it express themselves and these genes allow for the regeneration/restoration of the Protein chains (can't remember their name) at the end of the Chromosomes. These protein chains determine the number of times that Chromosome can divide. Is this true and has research been done into manipulating this for extending human lifespan? And if so, where might I be able to find information it?



Replies:
I believe you are referring to the telomere which is the end of the chromosome.

Peter Faletra Ph.D.
Office of Science
Department of Energy


I believe the term you are searching for is "telomer(s)". In its more general context of polymer chemistry it is a block of polymer "T" that is attached to both ends of a main polymer chain "-PPPPPP-", so that the final polymer sequence is "TPPPPPPT".

You can find more info about the context of your inquiry at:

http://www.css.orst.edu/CLASSES/css430/telomer.html

Vince Calder


These ends are called telomeres and some cancer cells have been observed repairing these ends with an enzyme called telomerase. This extends the life of the cell. Some scientists have experimented with giving this enzyme to normal cells and have extended their life span also. The problem is there is a fine balance between extending the life span of a cell and making it become cancerous. So human trials in this case may be unethical. There needs to be much more research into this area.

vanhoeck



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