Telomerase To Fix Immune System Aging

EurekAlert notes that UCLA researchers have demonstrated that telomerase - a telomere-extending protein - can be used to prevent the premature aging of the immune system. "Immune cells that fight HIV are under constant strain to divide ... This massive amount of division shortens these cells' telomeres prematurely. So the telomeres of a 40-year-old person infected with HIV resemble those of a healthy 90-year-old person." This sort of premature aging is the result of a part of your body running at an accelerated rate - but with telomerase, "immune cells could divide endlessly. They grew at a normal rate and didn't show any chromosomal abnormalities that might lead to cancer." This research opens up possibilities far beyond the obvious benefits to HIV-infected people.



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