Thursday, September 21, 2006

Pharmexa Testing Posssible Universal Cancer Vaccine

In a previous blog post, I asserted that the lengthening of telomeres on the ends of DNA strands would soon provide a cure for old age by rejuvenating old but healthy cells. This has already been accomplished in vitro using the enzyme telomerase, and clinical trials with humans will eventually get underway. As such, all you have to do is stay alive and stay reasonably healthy until telomerase therapy becomes a proven form of medical rejuvenation, and you will stand a 50/50 chance of living to see your 1,000th birthday without all the infirmities and superficial trappings of old age.

Telomerase was discovered by Elizabeth Blackburn in 1984, who recently received the 2006 Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research along with her colleagues Carol W. Greider and Jack W. Szostak. This discovery was the result of research driven purely by curiosity, but a few short years later it led other researchers to investigate the role that shortened telomeres played in cellular senescence. It also led researchers to investigate the role that telomerase plays in making cancer cells immortal. On this note, Pharmexa recently started clinical trials of GV1001, which targets telomerase production in cancer cells and could prove to be a universal cancer vaccine.

In sum, the ability to turn telomerase production on in healthy cells and off in cancerous cells will almost certainly end old age and cancer, something that companies like Pharmexa and Geron have been working on for quite some time. This has all sorts of implications for society, not the least of which is how health care will be delivered. To wit, telomerase therapy will almost certainly allow people to live longer and healthier, thereby dramatically reducing the exhorbitant costs of health care for the elderly in their last decade of life and making various forms of trauma (i.e., auto accidents, slip and falls, homicide) the leading causes of death.

Learn more about cancer and other medical issues online. The internet is a great place to start researching anything from cancer, to pregnancy symptoms to recognizing various symptoms of aids, and identifying whether or not you should seek further medical advice.

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