Can the human being really control cells aging? This is the question of a million euros to which biochemist Elizabeth Blackburn was able to answer after many works in the field of molecular medicine on telomeres and telomerase enzyme, which are the protectors of aging cells and that also have implications in the process of how cells become carcinogenic.
A research project that earned her the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2009, along with Carol W. Greider and Jack W. Szostak. These three scientists explained clearly how telomerase could be the key to everlasting youth.
Elizabeth Blackburn discovered the structure of telomeres and also found that when a cell divides the telomere shorten, but grows back again.
For her part, Carol Greider, a Ph.D. student of Blackburn’s, discovered that telomerase enzyme is responsible for telomere growth. Finally, Elizabeth Blackburn and Jack Szostak, third laureate, demonstrated that this growth process was not specific to the cell studied by Carol Greider, but that it also occurred in the cells of the human body. This was the finding of how the spikes of the chromosome protect themselves and remain constant over time. Before, we only knew that the stem cells, from which all the others are produced, and the tumor cells had active telemoration, still remaining alive.
Like most materials, telomeres tend to wear out because of their shortening, and wherever that happens the human being grows old. Realizing this dynamic could be a step towards prolonging active longevity in a healthy way.
But what are telomeres?
Telomeres were identified for the first time by Hermann Joseph Muller in the 1930s. Later, in 1965, Leonard Hayflick made the first direct observation of the phenomenon of cell death without pre-replication. In homage to the scientist, the minimum length at which telomeres can reach before causing problems to cell division has come to be called the Hayflick Limit.
Then Elizabeth Blackburn, president of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego (also was president of the American Association for Cancer Research and was once considered one of the 100 most influential people in the world according to TIME magazine), together with two other scientists (like referenced above), discovered how the chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase.
Elizabeth Blackburn sets the example: a lace-up shoe. Imagine that the shoelace is a chromosome (of the long chain of DNA) in which the tip has a plastic or a metal that serves as a protection of the wear of the shoelace, that is the telomere. As soon as the telomere wears out all the genetic material on the chromosome, it becomes unprotected and the cell can no longer renew properly. A kind of rotten apple that affects all the tissue around it and turns into chronic inflammation.
In practice, the telomeres fail to regenerate and reach a point where they no longer allow the correct replication of the chromosomes, and the cell completely or partially loses its ability to divide. The shortening of telomeres can also eliminate certain genes that are indispensable to cell survival or silencing nearby genes. As the process of cell renewal does not tolerate the death of the cells before their correct division, the organism is more exposed to diseases and tends to die in a short time.
For Elizabeth Blackburn, telomeres are a perfect example of how our bodies are influenced by gene inheritance (50%) and the experiences we experience in life (remaining 50%). It is this last piece that the scientist admits is in our hands: our daily behaviors can give us greater longevity or cause illnesses and sufferings, although there is a longevity preprogrammed by genetics.
Elizabeth Blackburn exemplifies for example that certain chemicals (pesticides, hair dyes, plastics, etc.) or the quality of our relationships influence our telomeres. “It is essential that we grow up in an emotionally positive environment that makes us feel good. This should happen in all areas: at home and at work”, said the scientist in an interview to the Spanish El Confidencial on 27/9/2017).
One of the last great experiments on the behavior of telomeres was made by NASA through two twins, both astronauts. Scott Kelly, who spent 340 days at the international space station, had telomeres longer than before the trip, a comparison that was also made with his brother, Mark Kelly, who stayed on Earth. Scientists say Scott’s telomeres declined again on Earth, according to CNN (February 2017), and believe that the increase in space has been caused by the intense physical exercise and the few calories that the astronaut ate. NASA has promised to reveal more details of this study because there are many other analyzes, such as the DNA and RNA behavior of each of these astronauts.
In ancient Egypt, in the time of Hierophants, papyruses were found about the psychostasis or the weighing of the soul. Papyruses that were decoded by Étienne Guillé. The scientist and molecular biologist has shown and demonstrated through the vibrational language of life at the molecular basis and the science of the 17 senses that in the cellular renewals every seven years, the four alchemical phases in the heterochromatin constitutive of psychostasis exist changes in each such as Tele Action / Injury / Amplification / Translocation. These changes are replicated and where the telomeres, alchemical metals and the three philosophical principles of life have a specific function and end this process successfully or not. In practice, they influence our daily lives through our acts, feelings and the state of our body, soul, and spirit, and can even trigger situations named as diseases.