Recall the programmed death of a cell is called Apoptosis and it is a very healthy and natural occurrence in the human body. However, when cells begin to divide and reproduce without death in this immortal fashion, it generally occurs during the beginning of a cancerous tumor’s growth.
Outside of cancer, researchers have struggled to learn more about the immortalization of our bodies cells. This is mainly due to the speed at which cancer progresses and the little time for adequate study into the cells development to take place. More concern, of course, is in stopping the malignant cells division before the cancer spreads and becomes fatal.
Recently, however, scientists were able to recreate new immortal cells on their own without having to study the phenomena during a cancers development.
Researchers, Martha Stampfer, Bernard Futscher, Lukas Vrba and other scientists from various scientific institutions have developed a new method that can easily create immortal human mammary epithelial cells. The lab scientist centered their focus on a natural process called cellular senescence, the time when cells stop dividing.
The new cells they created are unlike the cells researched in the past which were primarily from either mice or tumor tissues. The tumor tissues show mutations, which hindered the research significantly. The newly created immortal cells, however, have normal genomes. The immortal line produced with the new Berkeley Lab Method possesses a normal karyotype; 46 chromosomes arranged in 23 pairs. Because the researchers were able to derive a normal karyotype, these new immortal cell lines have great potential to shed light on cell immortalization as it occurs in people. This enables researchers to study the molecular mechanisms behind cell immortality from beginning to end.
This new method provides future potentials in the discovery of new ways to target the immortalization process in cancer therapies and further research into prevention and reversal of cancer progression. Read the full report here: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Image courtesy: http://www.nia.nih.gov/sites/default/files/6_telomere_4.jpg