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‘Immortality enzyme’ wins US trio Nobel

    Three American scientists won the Nobel Prize in medicine for research on cell division and the “immortality enzyme” that can help them multiply without damage, illuminating conditions including cancer and ageing.
    Elizabeth Blackburn, 60, a professor at the University of California in San Francisco; Carol Greider, 48, a professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore; and Jack Szostak, 56, a professor at Harvard Medical School in Boston, will share the 10 million-Swedish kronor ($1.4 million) prize equally, the Nobel Assembly said in Stockholm. It’s the first time two women have jointly won the prize.
    Their research explored a fundamental question of life: How chromosomes that carry the genetic code in DNA are copied in their entirety each time a cell divides. The key is the end of the chromosome, where caps known as telomeres reside. An enzyme discovered by the researchers, dubbed telomerase, prevents the end from being shaved off and maintains the health of the cell as it replicates — earning it the title of “immortality enzyme”.
    “This is a tremendous victory for curiosity-driven science,” Greider said. “We had a simple question of how chromosomes are maintained. It turns out there are major medical implications.” AGENCIES DNA Cap On Ageing
Telomeres cap chromosomes much like the plastic caps on shoelaces and protect against DNA damage Telomeres get shorter as cells divide, unless the cells contain enzyme telomerase Age block: If telomerase levels are kept high, cellular ageing is braked Cancer block: By blocking it, cancerous cells can be prevented from multiplying ‘Nobel study’ boosts cancer fight
    Research on the enzyme telomerase, for which three American scientists won the Nobel this year, can help find treatments to several diseases, including inherited forms of aplastic anaemia, when the bone marrow doesn’t produce enough blood cells, and genetic forms of skin and lung ailments.
    The most intense research has been in cancer, where malignant cells have the ability to divide indefinitely, and in ageing, which occurs in the cells when telomeres are shortened.
    Carol Greider, one of the winners, is a former triathlete who was preparing for a bicycling spin class when she got the call from the Nobel committee on Monday morning. She likened the group’s work to that of auto mechanics. It’s impossible to fix a broken carburettor if you don’t know how it normally works, she said.
    “That’s what happens inside cells,” Greider said before taking her two children, aged 9 and 13, to school. “When you have that fundamental understanding of how it works, when disease comes along you can understand what went wrong. Now we know both cancer and degenerative disease have major implications with telomerase.”
    Greider was a graduate student in Nobel co-winner Elizabeth Blackburn’s laboratory at the University of California in Berkeley. They join eight other female Nobel laureates in physiology or medicine, of the 192 individuals awarded the prize since 1901. BLOOMBERG Fair Share Of Ultimate Honour?
Three US scientists, including 2 women, shared the Nobel Prize in medicine for research linked to telomerase, an IMMORTALITY ENZYME that allows cells to divide continuously without dying and could play a role in the uncontrolled spread of cancer cells





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