Telomeres May Control Aging and Cancer

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Telomeres, the protective caps on the tips of chromosomes, have been linked to both aging and cancer
Telomeres, the protective caps on the tips of chromosomes, have been linked to both aging and cancer

It’s long been thought that our cells stop dividing as we age as a natural preventative measure against cancer. Now a new study has found an intriguing piece of evidence supporting this hypothesis in genomes from several families that seem to be particularly prone to cancer.

In a way, our cells have a pre-determined number of divisions in their lifetime – around 50. That limit is dictated by our telomeres, small repeating segments of “junk” DNA that form caps on the ends of our chromosomes. These act like a buffer protecting the important DNA in the chromosomes from damage when a cell divides, but a little piece of the telomere is lost each time.

Eventually that damage adds up and the telomeres shorten to the point that the cell stops dividing. This contributes to the symptoms of aging that we’re all too familiar with.

In theory, lengthening our telomeres or preventing them from shrinking should help slow the aging process, or even reverse it. Indeed, plenty of research is investigating this angle. But there’s a nasty potential downside to doing so – cancer.

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About the Common Constitutionalist

Brent, aka The Common Constitutionalist, is a Constitutional Conservative, and advocates for first principles, founders original intent and enemy of progressives. He is former Navy, Martial Arts expert. As well as publisher of the Common Constitutionalist blog, he also is a contributing writer for Political Outcast, Godfather Politics, Minute Men News (Liberty Alliance), Freedom Outpost, the Daily Caller, Vision To America and Free Republic. He also writes an exclusive weekly column for World Net Daily (WND).