Is the fountain of Youth hidden in our chromosomes? From longevity to cancer and beyond
Throughout the history people have been obsessed with the search of the cure for aging and death. But what if they knew that it may lie in their own bodies, in their own cells? Almost every linear eukaryotic chromosome is capped with telomeres - nucleoprotein structures, that protect it from severe damages. Within every cell division telomeres get shorter until they can’t provide any more protection and the cell will die. Some cells can resist the shortening by synthesizing an enzyme called telomerase, that ensures adequate stabilization of telomeres. Interestingly, stabilization of telomeres is also one of the crucial steps in cancer development and around 90 % of cancer types show pathological activation of telomerase in cells. What is the link between aging and cancer? What is the role of different telomere stabilizing strategies in cancer development prognosis? Can we influence our biological age through the length of our telomeres? This presentation will try to give you a general overview of telomere biology with some quick excursions into details.