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Cell Division Reversed for the First Time 238

SubtleGuest writes "Gary J. Gorbsky, Ph.D., a scientist with the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, has found a way to reverse the process of cell division. The discovery could have important implications for the treatment of cancer, birth defects and numerous other diseases and disorders. Gorbsky's findings appear in the April 13 issue of the journal Nature. "No one has gotten the cell cycle to go backwards before now," said Gorbsky. "This shows that certain events in the cell cycle that have long been assumed irreversible may, in fact, be reversible." In the lab, Gorbsky and his OMRF colleagues were able to control the protein responsible for the division process, interrupt and reverse the event, sending duplicate chromosomes back to the center of the original cell, an event once thought impossible. Here is a video of it happening."
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Cell Division Reversed for the First Time

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  • Re:Stem Cells (Score:1, Insightful)

    by rdwald ( 831442 ) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @02:19AM (#15119151)
    I'm wondering if with unlimited resourses, the process could be performed enough times to revert the cell to a stem cell. Just a thought.

  • Wow (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DarkProphet ( 114727 ) <chadwick_nofx@EI ... minus physicist> on Thursday April 13, 2006 @02:30AM (#15119173)
    If this is for real, all I can say is

    Holy shit!

    It would be theoretically possible to create a certain protein which targets cell-specific division. Like cancer cells. It wouldn't eradicate the cancerous cells, but it would certainly slow or possibly stop the cells' replication.

    Of course, I imagine the devil's in the details...
  • by John Miles ( 108215 ) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @02:31AM (#15119178) Homepage Journal
    In Canada (I'm sure the USA is similar), the overall cancer rate is now 1 in 2 ... that's right 50% of the population will contract cancer at some point in their life (most of those will eventually die from it). Here's the real shocker. The Government response... (snip rant about carcinogens)

    You're the victim of a very fundamental misunderstanding. The overall cancer death rate is actually 1 in 1. If you live long enough, you will eventually die of cancer. It's a perfectly-normal consequence of telomere loss due to aging.

    As we get better at preventing and treating heart disease and other vascular problems like stroke, it's only reasonable to expect cancer death rates to rise. It is not reasonable to start leaping to wild-assed conclusions about carcinogens, cell phones, and conspiracies. None of those are the problem. The problem is that most of the low-hanging fruit in the health-care business has been picked, and only the hard problems like cancer (which, as others have noted, refers to a great variety of different diseases) remain.
  • by sumdumass ( 711423 ) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @03:13AM (#15119296) Journal
    dude, u have to make a choice whether you're life is worth saving or not. we all die one day but you have to believe that life is worth it enough to quit smoking .. even if you quit and go back, quit and go back, eventually you'll just quit for good .. it doesn't take an iron will it just takes persistence and believing in that your life will be worth living! :)

    You hit the head on the nail. (purposely reversed)

    If we didn't do anyhtign that is supposed to be bad ofr you or cause this problem or that we would lead a very borring life. One has to wonder if that life is worth living. So we ignore some of the threats and add a littel fun to our life and then it becomes more interesting. People who smoke, jump out of airplanes, eat well done meats or whatever are just weighing their pleasures against the long term health.

    I have a friend who got a bacteria infection on a heart valve and he needed it replaced. I guess he got it from using dirty needles. The doctors told him he could get a pig heart and live for a certain time while taking some drug that would eventualy kill him or get a mechanical vavle and take even worse drugs. He is smokeing, drinking, doing minor drugs like pot and i asked him why. He said he already knows he is goign to die soon. There is no sence in waiting a few extra years and being miserable in the proccess. I agree with him.
  • by Shihar ( 153932 ) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @03:38AM (#15119366)
    In Canada (I'm sure the USA is similar), the overall cancer rate is now 1 in 2 ... that's right 50% of the population will contract cancer at some point in their life (most of those will eventually die from it).

    More people die of cancer because fewer people die of other things. Most (certainly not all) cancer is related to age. We are getting very good at living a very long time compared to what is "natural". The result is that old age disease take a heavier portion of our deaths. We have dramatically slashed the number of deaths to viruses and infection in first world nations.

    Even cancer is less of a killer then it used to be. More people get cancer because they live longer, but more people survive cancer then ever. As far as sucking air goes, there has not been a better time to be alive (in terms of life span) so long as you are in a first world nation. It is entirely possible that most kids born in 2000 will live to see 2100. Hell, it is very likely that a large portion of the people who are just now leaving college will live to see 2100.
  • sigh (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 13, 2006 @03:55AM (#15119403)
    There really should be a -1 Idiot rating.
  • People who don't smoke, drink or do drugs, who eat properly, exercise regularly, watch their fat intake, get plenty of fiber, and do everything else right do NOT, in fact, live longer.

    It just SEEMS like it's taking them forever to die.
  • by lazybratsche ( 947030 ) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @04:11AM (#15119438)
    Very true, but would this paper get any mainstream play if nobody played up the vague cure for cancer angle? "Scientists confirm obscure detail of biological process" doesn't make for much of a headline...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 13, 2006 @04:38AM (#15119492)
    OMFG!!!! GOOGLE CALENDAR!!!! why are we talking about CANCER!!!!!!!!
  • Re:Good news! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by FST777 ( 913657 ) <> on Thursday April 13, 2006 @05:43AM (#15119609) Homepage

    Old age is caused by DNA becoming shorter with each cell-renewal (yes, this implies division). The process of shortening DNA should thus be reversed (they already did this with mice). The exact same fact is the reason for cloned animals aging too young.

    Stopping or reversing that devision will stop needed renewal of the cells. That will, IMHO, cause a painfull death.

    I am not a Biotechnologist (allthough I did study it for a while).
  • by pnatural ( 59329 ) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @06:11AM (#15119661)
    you can quit. say this often.

    i've been a non-smoker for 1 year, 51 weeks (my stop anniversary is 4/20! hah!)

    the thing that finally worked for me was practice. you gotta practice quitting until you get it right. 1 day, 3 weeks, 14 months, whatever, if you fail, try again, and try again soon.

    the other thing that helps in quitting is knowing yourself: why you smoke, why you want to smoke, what helps you not want to smoke, etc. self knowledge and a bit of determination is about all you need. oh, yeah, try a nicotine replacement.

    me, i was a smoker for 18 years. i tried for the last 10 of those years to quit at least once or twice a year. in the last 4 of those years, i tried many, many times, each time getting a bit farther. this last time, i decided i didn't want to chew that frikin gum anymore, so i stopped chewing it and got on with my life. probably the best thing i ever did for myself.

    you can do it. good luck.
  • Be real (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dr. Eggman ( 932300 ) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @07:18AM (#15119766)
    It's not a cure for old age, its no longer possible after a certain point so you can't reverse an entire lineage back to one cell.

    It's not going to reverse cancer either, for the same reason. What it *might* do, if you can determine on a cellular level which cells are cancerous, is halt the growth (assuming it doesn't just start dividing again. It doesn't even say if the DNA recombines, which I doubt it would do.

    The real value is that old scientific standby, knowledge. Greater knowledge of what makes a cell tick, what factors trigger when its ready to divide will result in new cures, safer cures, and, of course, new understanding. If we can figure out why a cell divides, we can perhaps block those triggers and stop the division of cells like cancer. Greatly slowing or even stopping cell metabolism and division will be an important part of imposing a long term stasis or hibernation in humans experiencing long space travels to mars and the like. Understanding how to trigger cell reproduction could be one of the most important steps in reviving persons who have cyrogenically frozen themselves, too.
  • by Dis*abstraction ( 967890 ) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @07:19AM (#15119770)
    I can't claim firsthand knowledge of whether ADHD medication would help a smoker quit, but I'll attest to the fact that on the occasions I skip my morning Adderall, I'm pretty damn likely to find myself in line for a pack of Parliaments later that day. And as long as I stay on the pills, that is for weeks at a stretch, I won't need to smoke at all. My doctor mentioned the same thing re: ADHD-type personalities frequently found to self-medicate with cigarettes, and it seems perfectly natural to me. Obvious, in retrospect.

    This is also why I feel it's inaccurate to portray the dirty, disgusting habit of smoking as an unqualified negative. Take away a man's cigarettes and you'll increase his life expectancy twenty years, but if he's anything like me, you'll also turn him into a gibbering mess. And this has nothing to do with physical dependency--nicotine or amphetamines, I'm an equal-opportunity druggie. Either one lets me stay as focused and creative as I need.

"So why don't you make like a tree, and get outta here." -- Biff in "Back to the Future"