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Theory Room: Human Immortality

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Posted January 30, 2012 at 09:10 AM by Yumisekai

After constant thinking, I decided to bring up this subject and explain, in a theoretical way, if the phenomenon we call "immortality" would actually work. To reach into this question, I've done quite some extensive work.

First things first. For an introduction, I need to find out how the process of living and dying works.
Further explanations are written below, as you continue reading.


1 - The DNA

In a simple explanation, we survive as living beings because our cells have the ability to duplicate and replace themselves before they are killed by environmental threats such as oxides and free-radicals. But for this to happen, our DNA molecule needs to make a copy of itself, resulting in 2 DNA molecules, allowing the old one to die and the new one to continue living.

A chain of repeating pairs of enzymes called telomeres prevail in the DNA molecule. These enzymes cover the external layer of chromosomes and protect the DNA molecule from losing any of its vital part.

The thing is, as we get older, the lenght of the telomeres gets shorter. The protection vanishes from the DNA molecule and when the cell tries to duplicate itself, it fails and rusts to death. Remember oxides and free-radicals? Cells that stop duplicating wear out and die. This is called Haylick limit. It measures the number of times a cell can divide itself before it stops.

There is another enzyme called telomerase that prevents the telomeres from wearing off too much and die. As obvious as it may seem, these enzymes decrease as we get older. However, a cell can save itself from dying by turning into a cancer cell, which turns on the telomerase enzyme and accelerates telomere production, allowing the cancer cell to constantly live.

The main obstacle against these enzymes is cancer. Cancer originates from mutant cells that produce telomeres. If a healthy cell makes an error in copying itself, that error will prevent it from copying itself again and avoiding it from turning mutant and pre-cancerous. However, cancer will just turn on the production of enzymes in these cancer cells and make them immortal, so they can duplicate themselves and spread the tumors.

To prevent tumors brought by cancer, somehow we are programmed to shut down telomerase production since we all have mutant cells in our bodies. Nevertheless, some mutant cells reactivate their telomeres, bringing back tumors. So basically, we are programmed to die to be saved from being pierced with tumors.


2 - Telomeres


These enzymes, as it was said earlier, serve as an external cover for the DNA molecule so it cannot die from duplicating itself.
To prevent cancer and tumors, we need to detect cancer cells. Since the production of telomeres in a cancer cell is faster than in a healthy cell, the organism is programmed to get rid of them. Cells will either die from duplicating too much after they've no telomeres left, or turn into cancer cells, which will also end dying by our organism.
Old people usually suffer from diseases and tumors because of the many healthy cells that turned into cancer cells over time.


3 - Possible solutions for life extending

There could be many solutions to extend our lifetime:
  1. Trigger and extend telomerase production in healthy cells.
  2. Protect healthy cells from oxides and free-radicals.
  3. Repair damage done by oxides and free-radicals.
  4. Rejuvenate telomeres as soon as their lenght reaches a critical value.
  5. Rejuvenate telomerase production as soon as they decrease to a critical value.
  6. Cure cancer cells.
  7. Slow down cell duplication processes.

4 - Immortality Rate Formula

Following the logic of the behavior of our cells, I decided to develop a formula that calculates our proximity to immortality, based on the number of normal healthy cells and cancer cells. The Immortality Rate Formula goes as:



Hc = Normal healthy cells (They do NOT produce telomerase!);
Cc = Cancer cells (These produce telomeres automatically by triggering an enzyme called telomerase);


Three conditions are met for the equation to work:




A human only reaches biological immortality if he has no cancer cells and if all healthy cells trigger telomerase production.
Posted in Theory Room
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Comments

  1. Old Comment
    Mashu1994's Avatar
    I wouldn't mind being the lab rat for a project like this.
    permalink
    Posted January 30, 2012 at 09:29 AM by Mashu1994 Mashu1994 is offline
  2. Old Comment
    chocoboking's Avatar
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mashu1994 View Comment
    I wouldn't mind being the lab rat for a project like this.
    You could die the most painful way to die....
    permalink
    Posted January 30, 2012 at 09:47 AM by chocoboking chocoboking is offline
  3. Old Comment
    Mashu1994's Avatar
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by chocoboking View Comment
    You could die the most painful way to die....
    That is true... I probably wouldn't do it till im an old man. I shoulda added that in with my first comment.
    permalink
    Posted January 30, 2012 at 09:53 AM by Mashu1994 Mashu1994 is offline
  4. Old Comment
    Gildarts's Avatar
    You could extend life like this, but you still would be prone to die of various other diseases/disorders that naturally occur from aging as well.

    Namely, this is just getting rid of the biggest current natural death: cancer. It's a good theory though.
    permalink
    Posted January 30, 2012 at 09:57 AM by Gildarts Gildarts is offline
  5. Old Comment
    that went right over my head -_-

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by chocoboking View Comment
    You could die the most painful way to die....
    i would probobly do it anyway :)
    permalink
    Posted January 30, 2012 at 02:22 PM by otakuofdeath otakuofdeath is offline
  6. Old Comment
    Yumisekai's Avatar
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gildarts View Comment
    You could extend life like this, but you still would be prone to die of various other diseases/disorders that naturally occur from aging as well.

    Namely, this is just getting rid of the biggest current natural death: cancer. It's a good theory though.
    A disease/disorder, just like the name suggests, is an abnormal condition affecting the organism. The reason that happens is because the agent causing the disease targets healthy cells. Cancer itself is a group of several diseases that involve abnormal cell growth.

    However, biological immortality won't make you age because cells are always being replaced and there is always a supply of telomeres, thus you won't get diseases which target weakened cells that have small telomere resources.

    Keep in mind that we are programmed to die only when a high number of cancer cells develop tumors.
    permalink
    Posted January 30, 2012 at 04:11 PM by Yumisekai Yumisekai is offline
  7. Old Comment
    Hakurei's Avatar
    I would give anything to achieve immortality. Too bad our technology is still not advanced enough to make our cells like that.
    permalink
    Posted January 31, 2012 at 12:01 AM by Hakurei Hakurei is offline
  8. Old Comment
    Yumisekai's Avatar
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Hakurei View Comment
    I would give anything to achieve immortality. Too bad our technology is still not advanced enough to make our cells like that.
    Who knows, perhaps my work on this subject will become useful in a near future.
    permalink
    Posted January 31, 2012 at 03:21 AM by Yumisekai Yumisekai is offline
 

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