"Immortality" gene revealed

Brian D Williams (talon57@well.com)
Mon, 29 Dec 1997 07:35:00 -0800 (PST)

This is from the October 1997 special Transportation issue of
Scientific American page 28 "In Brief".

I thought it of interest to the list, and possibly in particular,
Extropian investors.

This was a particularly good issue, there is an article on hybrid
electric vehicles as recently discussed here.

"Immortality" Gene Revealed

Two teams of scientists-from Geron Corporation, the University of
Colorado at Boulder, and the Whitehead Institute for biomedical
research, among others-have cloned the gene for the human
telomerase catalytic protein, the "holy grail" of aging research.
This enzyme serves as a key of sorts for rewinding the celular
clock: cells that produce telemerase, such as cancer cells, are
immortal. Those that lack the enzyme have a limited life span. The
researchers hope that by having identified the enzyme, they will be
able to screen for drugs that can inhibit or activate it.
Inhibitors might prove to be highly specific and potent anticancer
agents, where-as activators may well ameliorate diseases caused by
cell death, including Alzheimer's.