Short Telomeres Linked To Cancer

EurekAlert reports on a convincing study linking shortened telomeres (the protective caps at the end of chromosomes) with cancer development. This makes sense, as short telomeres lead to genetic damage and - usually - cell death, or cellular senescence as it is properly known. In the normal course of events, shortening telomeres act as timers for cell life span, ensuring that old cells are replaced in a timely fashion. This research is futher proof that cancer results from a malfunction of the telomere mechanism for cell senescence - and offers new possibilities for developing preventative medicine and improved early diagnostics.