Modifying Cells to Solve Aging Creates Cancerous Cells in Some Cases

Cancer Cells

For decades, scientists have gone into the study of telomeres, the protective “caps” at the ends of chromosomes, in an effort to unravel the mysteries of aging and look for potential avenues to slow or halt this biological process.

As cells divide over time, telomeres naturally shorten, rendering cells increasingly susceptible to degeneration and eventual demise. Researchers have sought methods to lengthen or stabilize telomeres to potentially forestall these effects.

However, a recent study published in The New England Journal of Medicine introduces a cautionary note: elongating telomeres may come at a significant cost, namely an increased risk of tumors and a condition associated with blood cancer known as CHIP (Clonal Hematopoiesis of Indeterminate Potential).

The study focused on 17 individuals from five families carrying an inherited variant of the POT1 gene, which results in longer telomeres than usual.

Anti-Aging Treatment With Stem Cells

Analysis revealed a spectrum of tumors including skin, thyroid, and brain cancers, as well as instances of CHIP in eight out of the 12 individuals examined. In contrast, among 21 relatives lacking this genetic mutation, only two showed signs of CHIP.

The findings challenge the conventional wisdom that extending telomere length could be a beneficial strategy against age-related ailments.

The research team hypothesizes that cells possessing longer telomeres may undergo prolonged division periods compared to those with shorter telomeres.

This extended division time could potentially allow for the accumulation of random mutations, some of which may trigger the development of cancers over time.

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Categorized as Health

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