Monday, July 5, 2004

It came from OUTER SPACE! The EMBRYO that would NOT DIE!

Is this a fetal way of fighting back?

It would make a nifty sci-fi flick, I reckon.

"Dr. Lane, come have a look at thsi test tube. There's something... strange."

"Let me have a look. ... Oh my heavens, Ricky! It's got my hand!"

"Dr. Lane, what should I do!"

"Run, run for your life! Agh, it's -- got -- it's crawling up my chest -- GWAAARRGHH!"

New Scientist -- Embryonic stem cells 'should be dead' -- 10:00 04 July 04

Zwaka had tested the embryonic stem cells (ESCs) for the presence of enzymes called caspases, proteins that chew up the cell from within. Their presence is usually considered a sure sign that cells are undergoing programmed suicide, or apoptosis - the body's way of getting rid of damaged or redundant cells.

...Although the cells had high levels of caspase activity, few of them were actually dying, he told a recent stem-cell meeting in Boston.

To double-check his results, Zwaka looked for, and found, two other signs of cell suicide: the presence of a chewed-up protein called PARP-1, which is abundant in suicidal cells, and the shutting down of the power factories in cells, the mitochondria, indicated by the depolarisation of their membranes.

Idiot speaking here: Why not use these caspases, or even some kind of mitochondrial depolarization, to treat cancer?

1 comment:

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