Cancer 101: How cancers unlock ‘immortality’
Cancer

Cancer 101: How cancers unlock ‘immortality’

Dr. Talia Henkle
Dr. Talia Henkle

In 10 seconds? Remember when we likened cancer to an anarchist? Time for our next Cancer 101 Digest and to learn how cancers become ‘immortal’ and wreak havoc by manipulating a protein, called telomerase.

Cancer, immortal? Sounds like some dark villain… Indeed, to the extent that even the evil Lord Voldemort might have been smarter to learn from cancer instead of relying on unicorn blood and Horcruxes to achieve immortality. (But let’s put jokes aside as cancer causes so much human suffering and explain what happens here.) The terms cancer and immortality may seem paradoxical on a human level, but on a cellular level cancerous cells have unlocked replicative immortality in ways healthy cells have not (and shouldn’t).

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