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3blake7

Immortality

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I saw coverage on the news channel about immortality being possible in the near future. I wanted to know if there are any experts on the forums that can elaborate on where we are and what still needs to be accomplished.

 

I read an article that scientists have converted skin cells into stem cells then into neurons, which would be required to repair the brain as neurons die.

 

I read that scientists have identified genes and have been able to trigger them to increase cellular respiration, which decreases with age.

 

I read that telomeres degrade with cellular mitosis and will have to be repaired which they haven't been able to do yet.

 

I read that molecular manufacturing could be invented in the next 10-30 years which will allow for the mass production of medical nanomachines which could repair telomeres.

 

I read that the body completely replaces itself, cell by cell, in three years and deduced that immortality treatments would be injections of new neurons and nanomachines, which would allow a person of any age to reverse age to the age of 20ish within 1-3 years.

 

I can link articles if you need.

Edited by 3blake7

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I like the halo newspapers are doing from the regular science articles :) IMHO immortality is still a music of "very" far future

 

Nowadays, it isn't problem to make cardiomyocytes or neurons from stem cells, what is problem is to put them into living organism and still maintain it's functionality and integrity.

I will talk about cardiomyocytes rather than neurons... We can manufacture them completely functionable in a tissue, but yet we cannot implant them into the heart because heart muscle needs to contract in a precise manner, precise order and this is the problem. Our artificial tissue needs to be implemented into existing one, connect myofibrils together in fasciae adhaerentes and make intercalated disks (fasciae adherentes, desmosomes and gap junctions). This is the main problem now.

I can imagine the same problem with neurons... We can make them, but we cannot make them behave the way we want (If we ourselves know what we want from them).

But for example, we have also problems implementing and making new cartilage, not only these highly functional cells such as neurons and kardiomyocytes.

 

The issues of cell energy and telomerases are slightly interconnected.

But we are able to repair telomeres. For this is responsible the telomerase enzyme. Young, undifferentiated cells in our bodies are able to do that. For example HSC, the cell in your bone marrow, which forms blood elements. Also all of the cancer cells are capable of producing telomerase... In fact, cancer cells are very close to being called immortal. It's by the process of differentiation that cells lose the ability to produce telomerase.

Again, we can manufacture it, but we don't know yet, how to use it... Some research projects show kinda promising results though.

 

As for the cell energy, shortening of telomeres directly affects mitochondrial metabolism in few pathways, e.g. shortening of telomeres results in the overproduction of p53 protein (Product of tumor supressor gene TP53, which has many more functions in protecting cells), this protein then inhibits the expression of mitochondrial metabolism regulators PGC1-[latex]\alpha[/latex] and PGC1-[latex]\beta[/latex] which lead to overproduction of free radicals and problems with ATP production, which may result in cell death. (http://www.nature.com/nrm/journal/v13/n6/fig_tab/nrm3352_F2.html)

This can be solved by continual repair of telomeres or overexpression of PGC1 species.

 

But yeah... In 30 years, many things might be possible and I believe may of the problems I mentioned here will be solved.

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