Re: telomerase: a new perspective

From: Ross A. Finlayson (
Date: Mon Aug 21 2000 - 06:34:51 MDT

If cancer is a natural cap on lifespan, normally beaten to death by heart disease, organ
failure, or accident, then it is perhaps inextricably linked with that old cycle of doing
out with the old to make way for the new.

The forest fires are not so different, they are dangerous and have burned large areas of
timber, and I know not any expressible capital amount of damage the fires have caused,
although I think it little except for the very real hundreds of people who have lost

One good thing about the forest fires is that when the fires kick off again in the next
ten years, there will have been some burns already cleared, although they must be kept
free of secondary undergrowth which is too flammable, and thus by having been burned then
they will not burn and the firefighters can concentrate on Southern California.

Now, when we can determine good ways to ship the floods and hurricanes of the Atlantic
directly to these parched areas, then people will still talk about the weather.

Speaking of the weather, perhaps I am just too young to have seen cycles of fifty or a
hundred years and certainly of millenia, but the evidence I have seen from the
meterologists is that humans and their activites which affect the environment have done
so in a way that can not be easily reversed. This environmental change (remember global
warming and the Ozone Layer and threat of lack of a one), can only be slowed by
converting all the cars to fuels that burn to emit water and not CO2, CO, and nitrogen
and sulphur compounds we find in the air as we burn billions of pounds of ancient
fermented plankton, or the blood, or perhaps a humour, of the Earth. Reversing it
requires letting the environment recover, and probably not yet massive industrial
planetary-wide air cleaners. That is to say: may we never have to terraform the Earth.

The cycle is a simple one: use solar energy to generate electricity and split water into
hydrogen and oxygen, and burn it back for internal combustion needs. Burning alcohol
from sustainable biomass is certainly a much better proposition for the environment which
many hope to inhabit indefinitely than is burning petro-sludge and particularly coal.

There are environmental realities about these environmental impacts: people who mine,
sell, and burn coal want to keep doing so to make money, thus the planet wheezes and
burns in the sun.

Here's one for you: almost each person on the planet breathes the same air. So, if the
air is damaged, then each has been damaged. Pow! Class action suit, no more money in

Don Klemencic wrote:

> There is research news from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, associated
> with Harvard University:
> and reported in Science Daily:
> In aging humans tumors tend to appear in epithelial tissue. Because of a
> lack of telomerase, when telomeres have been used up, cell division leads to
> massive chromosomal damage. These cells enter a state called 'crisis'. If
> they then regain the ability to make telomerase, these genetically damaged
> cells move toward a cancerous state.
> Normal mice produce telomerase in the epithelial tissues. Although they get
> other kinds of cancers, they don't develop cancers like those seen in aging
> humans. When knockout mice were created that did not produce telomerase in
> the epithelial tissues, they exhibited cancer development like that seen in
> aging humans.
> This strikes me as very good news. It appears that the 'dark side' of
> telomerase is manifested only when cells regain telomerase after having been
> previously damaged by its absence. That seems to brighten considerably the
> prospect of using telomerase as a component in an anti-aging therapy.
> Don Klemencic

>From readings here and some elsewhere, it is certain that telomerase is a kew in the
aging process. What biological processes maintain telomeres I know not, but it happens.
This is a fantastic statement, but in twenty years everyone on the planet could be free
of what was priorly the natural age limit, perhaps barring brain cell disintegration. Of
course, there would still be a limit.

Ross Andrew Finlayson
Finlayson Consulting
Ross at Tiki-Lounge:

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