The Nobel Prize Curing Aging

The slope towards old age seems inescapable and for thousands of years mankind has been on the quest to find the ultimate secret, which will keep us looking young. From drinking herbal potions and trialling the latest skin solutions, it all seems too familiar, when trying to avoid the ceaseless slide towards old age. And … it appears, no matter what we do, nothing seems to actually work.

The secret to youth can be found in the 2009, Award Winning Nobel Prize Research for Physiology and Medicine. This Nobel Prize was awarded to three scientists who solved a major problem in biology: How can chromosomes be copied in a complete way during cell divisions? And, how are they protected against degradation?

The Nobel Laureates showed the solution is to be found in the ends of the chromosomes – the telomeres – and in an enzyme that forms them – telomerase. The long, thread-like DNA molecules which carry our genes are packed into chromosomes, telomeres being the caps on their ends. The researchers responsible; Elizabeth Blackburn and Jack Szostak, discovered a unique DNA sequence in the telomeres which protects chromosomes from degradation.

Carol Greider and Elizabeth Blackburn identified telomerase, the enzyme which makes telomere DNA. These discoveries explained how the ends of chromosomes are protected by telomeres and how they are built by telomerase.

If telomeres are shortened, cells begin to age. However, if telomerase activity is high, telomere length is maintained and therefore cellular ageing, delayed. This is the case found in cancer cells, which can be considered to have eternal life. Certain inherited diseases, are characterised by a defective telomerase, which result in damaged cells causing premature aging.

About The Author

Branka Duric

Beauty Editor experienced in writing on Fashion, Beauty, Health & Skincare.