I was perusing Slashdot the other day when I saw a relatively sensational-sounding argument talking about telomeres. Only it seems to be quite legitimate.
Now, I’m no stranger to the idea of how these nifty little so-and-so’s regulate cell division, and therefore aging, so hearing that there is apparently now a treatment to artificially lengthen telomere chains by 1000 base pairs or so isn’t something I’ll pass up on reading.
So imagine my surprise when the abstract ends
“This rapid method of extending telomeres and increasing cell proliferative capacity without risk of insertional mutagenesis should have broad utility in disease modeling, drug screening, and regenerative medicine.”
Huh. All that, and they make you functionally immortal, too.
See, I know that they’re ace in regenerative medicine, because that’s getting our body to do better what it already does naturally. Heart failure? Well, regrowing a bum ticker would solve a lot of the issues we’ve got right now with people dying on the waiting lists and/or from heart failure. Lost an arm or a leg? Well, until bionic replacements surpass biological originals, if you could be a less green and scaly version of Curt Connors, it sure would make your day brighter, no?
…But excuse me, you do realize that you’ve basically produced a bottled version of aqua vite, right?
Is there really an issue with stating that they’ve got a shot that can add ten years at least to your life span, no matter how old you are? And that there doesn’t seem to be any issues with your newly-dividing cells turning cancerous to boot?
I don’t know, maybe there’s something I’m not getting. Maybe calling it what it is gets you shut down, but right now it would be criminal should research into it be stopped just because of the pesky side effect of functional immortality.