A recent discovery found in a molecular switch could help control how quick a person ages and whether they'll develop cancer.
It’s the job of our cells to consistently divide, so they can rejuvenate our skin, liver, lungs and other organs. Unfortunately, they can’t do this forever, and our tissues and organs are left to suffer and degrade over time.
Telomeres are the DNA caps that settle at the end of the chromosomes. Every time the cell is able to divide, the telomeres continue to get shorter until they are so small that they are unable to properly divide.
Researchers have found a switch to stop the beat down of the telomere. Telomerase is an enzyme that helps to rebuild the telomere and allows them to indefinitely divide. However, finding out why some of the telomerase responds to cells in some and not others is still difficult to ascertain.
The Salk Institute or Biological Studies have realized that the on/off switch in the telomerase may be found in a cell, but when it comes to slowing down the aging process, it won’t work if the switch is turned off.
Studies in the past have shown that once the telomerase has been collected, it should be accessible when needed. However, findings have proven that the telomerase have an off switch instead.
This is a significantly major breakthrough because scientists can now determine how to manage the off switch and slow the aging process down. It could also help in finding treatments for many of today’s age related illnesses and diseases. The ways the telomerase uncontrollably divide could also prove insightful when it comes to studying cancer cells.
Researchers discovered the on/off switch while incorporating a new technique using yeast. They were then allowed to monitor how the cells grew and methods that they used to divide.
Every time the cells are allowed to separate, a genome is replicated. While the cell is waiting for its duplication, the telemorase is in a sit and wait mode waiting for the process to come to fruition.
However, once the assembly was completed, the dismantling of the telemorase took place, and it was switched to the off position.
The off switch is what has given researchers new hope when it comes to cancer and cell growth and ensuring that the cells divide for longer periods of time.
The recent research done with the help of yeast may not seem very telling at the moment, but the experiments have certainly provided a foundation for future discoveries when it comes to human beings.
Further studies will be able to help researchers understand more about how the switch works, and it’s relation to both the aging process and cancer. Once they figure this out, they can use their findings to help people live a longer and healthier life.