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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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  • by 80 85 83 83 89 33 ( 819873 ) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @02:09AM (#15119133) Journal
    ... and we are loosing that war. i've heard many times, and have even caught myself saying, that there will be a cure for cancer soon. hasn't happened yet. so whenever i hear:

    important implications for the treatment of cancer

    i get my hopes up for a little while, just as most of the world has since the War on Cancer was officially announced in the 50's, and untold amounts of money have been spent by the NIH. but the truth is, i probably need to quit smoking to have the best chance at not dying from cancer.

    -- sorry, my uncle just died from lymphoma this weekend, and i keep staring at the cigarette i'm smoking with a pained look.
  • by HappyEngineer ( 888000 ) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @02:29AM (#15119172) Homepage
    sorry, my uncle just died from lymphoma this weekend, and i keep staring at the cigarette i'm smoking with a pained look.

    I've always assumed that most smokers are people with untreated ADHD. Has anyone read anything to indicate whether or not this is the case?

    The positive effects of smoking (feeling calmed down and more focused) are the same effects of ADHD medication except, obviously, the medication won't cause cancer, it is given in a dose that is consistent through the entire day, and it is not addictive.

    I'd be curious to find out if giving a smoker medication for ADHD would make it easier for them to quit.

  • by deopmix ( 965178 ) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @02:52AM (#15119228)
    The article doesn't say if the chromosomes merge back into one or not. I can't imagine that this would be possible, given the complexity of DNA. So does the cell just sit there with two sets of chromosomes. Also, would this be a way to build some kind of super muscle, with twice as many mitochondria?
  • by Stickerboy ( 61554 ) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @02:58AM (#15119248) Homepage
    Not only that, but many cancers are now curable if caught early enough. Especially cancers that are most common in children and young adults, because typically the tissues and cells that are in overdrive in the developing stages (and most susceptible to becoming cancerous) are less active in adulthood.

    Good examples of cancers with excellent cure rates are Wilm's tumor [], acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) [], neuroblastoma [],retinoblastoma [], and Hodgkin's lymphoma [].

    And this is just breaking the tip of the iceberg. Most of that NIH money actually goes to good use, unlike a lot of government spending.
  • by wagebo ( 627707 ) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @03:00AM (#15119253)
    Human cells can't live with 2x (92) the diplood number (46) of chromosomes. Our cells can only handle the one set it's supposed to have. Just having one duplicate chromosome can cause problems like Down's syndrome which is caused by having an extra 21st chromosome. The merged cell in this case would probably end up dying and lysing itself.
  • by HappyEngineer ( 888000 ) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @03:17AM (#15119305) Homepage
    But nicotine is a stimulant just like ADHD medications are. Are you sure that there aren't multiple things going on at the same time here? I don't know anything about the biology, so you may well be right, but I'd be interested in a url to some information on a correlation or lack thereof between ADHD and smoking. Also, what do you mean by increased stress on the brain?
  • Re:Stem Cells (Score:3, Interesting)

    by LurkerXXX ( 667952 ) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @09:56AM (#15120547)
    And because it isn't a true reversal, these cells are likely to be seriously mucked up long term.

    Downs syndrome [] is caused by an extra copy of chromosome 21.

    If you have two copies of chromosome 18, you get Trisomy 18. [] Something you don't want. Basically, having extra copies of any chromosome is a 'bad thing'. Having an additional 23 pairs of chromosomes in addition to the normal 23 pairs, is extremely likely to lead to very abnormal cellular function.

    While this is a very interesting finding in ways to manipulate events in mitosis, this isn't some miracle reversal of mitosis. It's a way to make a seriously messed up cell.

The intelligence of any discussion diminishes with the square of the number of participants. -- Adam Walinsky