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Immortal cells/life extension

  1. Oct 22, 2007 #1
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 22, 2007 #2
    The cells just have a double dose, so to speak, of the genes that are on that section of chromosome 8,” Allen-Hoffman says.

    That appears to be the only difference in the cells, and the reason for their “immortality.”
  4. Oct 22, 2007 #3


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    I suppose that would have to be the objective of future research on this. Since they've only recently made this discovery, it would be too soon to answer your question.

    However, this is a really exciting, and promising therapy for those in need of skin grafts. I think a more immediate question would be if they can repeat that mutation on purpose with someone's own skin cells so one could culture graft tissue that would not be rejected.
  5. Oct 25, 2007 #4
    if immortal cells did not cause cancer and could obtained in every cell type how much could they extend life?
  6. Oct 25, 2007 #5

    jim mcnamara

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    If you mean an immortal cell line, what they are talking about is the fact that as cells divide repeatedly the DNA gets "gummed" up. There are genetic mechanisms in cells that ask the cell to die off before too much DNA gumming-up can occur. Think of it as a cancer and genetic dyfunction reduction strategy.

    So if cells never commited suicide, like in the sense above, then they run an ever increasing risk of DNA beoming bad. THat answer your question? Basically, after twenty cell generations you would have a greater risk of cells going berserk. For example, the epithelial cells liningg your gut are replaced constantly. If the source cells for replacing
    kept dividing forever and not committing suicide, when would you start increasing your risk for cancer? Answer: In about one month.

    Short answer: bad idea as things now stand.
  7. Oct 25, 2007 #6
    But these immortal cells
    Do not cause cancer
    So how much could immortal cells available in any cell type, that didn't cause cancer like these don't cause, extend life? Or would they cause too many dna damage etc even if they didn't cause cancer?
  8. Oct 25, 2007 #7


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    bioquest, please do not open multiple threads on the same topic. I have merged your threads.
  9. Nov 27, 2007 #8
    Is it possible that having a double dose of Chromosome 8 or something like that would stop you from getting cancer if the immortal cells in that article didn't develop cancer?
  10. Nov 27, 2007 #9


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    A "double dose" of a Chromosome is usually considered deleterious. There are only a few viable trisomies in humans, and each of them results in fairly substantial negative health consequences (i.e., Down syndrome is an extra copy of Chromosome 13).

    An immortal cell line just refers to how the cells behave in a petri dish. Usually, they are either derived from cancerous cells that lack the machinery to regulate replication properly, or from immature cells that do not act the same way mature cells do. They have uses in research for understanding how various components of the cells work, but are not something you can just stick into a person or animal and expect to continue thriving outside the protected environment of the petri dish or cell culture flask.
  11. Nov 28, 2007 #10


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    You may be confusing this with the recent discovery where skin cells can be made to exhibit the plasticity of a stem cell.


    This was probably brought into being because of the moral debate about using cloned human embryos to obtain stem cells to grow various organs for those in need of them. These are normal skin cells that are triggered into becoming stem cells. You may actually have to read up on the subject to understand it.

    The "trigger" happens when "reprogramming" is achieved by attaching new sets of genes to a "retrovirus" and that (dormant) virus is introduced to the skin cell's genetic material thus converting a normal skin cell into a versatile stem cell that can produce virtually any tissue or organ that is required by a patient.

    I'm pretty sure the whole cloning/stem cell thing is really just a tactic funded by the military in leu of growing its own recruits:-]
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2007
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