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Idealized Cancer Control

Dissension can sometimes be directed toward a constructive outcome.
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As I write this, possibly my most HalfBaked Idea ever, the tagline under the photograph/picture of the croissant-on-a-dish states, "Outside the bag the box came in." Very appropriate, and thus encouraged, I continue....

An important aspect of this Idea is "telomerase", which was the subject of another Idea (linked). While it is known that all cancers are associated with telomerase, which in turn is associated with cellular immortality, the evidence so far indicates that that enzyme is not, itself, a cancer-causing substance.

So, let us start by thinking about a single cancerous cell. It has abandoned its normal function as part of the body, and is focusing all its efforts into reproducing itself. Let us pretend the cell is basically announcing to the body, "I don't wanna die! I reject the cellular coordination that forces me toward limited lifespan!"

Well, there are two ways to Answer that attitude. One, the one typically pursued by modern medical science is, "Kill it before it spreads!" The other way to answer that attitude, however, is what this Idea is all about. See the subtitle?

Remember that in order to become immortal, the cancer cell produces telomerase, which in turn repairs the "telomeres" at the ends of each strand of DNA in the chromosomes of the cell nucleus. At some point after that happens, the cell initiates the cell-division process. We need to learn more about the actual trigger or triggers of that process, and I'm confident that we eventually will.

Now we have two cancer cells, both of which start producing telomerase, to repeat the cycle. Here is where we want to invoke Idealized Cancer Control. We want to kill ONE of the two cells, and "explode" it, so that the telomerase it produced gets released into the body, generally. The other cell, we allow to repeat its cycle, producing a second cancer cell.

After that second cancer cell is produced, we again kill ONE of the two cells, exploding it so its telomerase gets released into the body. A major reason this Idea is HalfBaked is, I'm not sure how to only kill one of two cancer cells. Perhaps nanotechnology will one day be capable of it, but for now, all we can do is assume it can eventually be accomplished.

Anyway, remember that the linked Idea states that once in the body, telomerase can infuse into any other cell, and cause it to repair its telomeres. That cell is still healthy, still functioning normally, but if it needs to divide, it can now do so, instead of growing old and dying.

With ENOUGH cancerous cells in the body, being destroyed half the time by Idealized Cancer Control, the overall body then receives enough telomerase, so that the whole body can live normally AND immortally. The dissension represented by the cancerous cells has indeed been directed toward a constructive outcome!

Vernon, May 11 2015

Other Telomerase Idea Telomerase_20Production_20Hormone
As mentioned in the main text. [Vernon, May 11 2015]

[link]






       The idea of beneficial cancer cells is pretty outside-of- the-box, but I think there some major problems with it: There are many old, proven effective ways to express telomerase using gene therapy, so the idea is solving a problem that doesn’t exist, in a scary way.   

       I pretty sure the assumption that telomerase can pass through cell walls is wrong. Telomerase is a pretty large (about 150000 AMU) molecule, about 10 times as large as some common viruses. Telomerase doesn’t have special structures for sticking too and penetrating cell walls the way viruses do, so I don’t think it’d be able to.
CraigD, May 11 2015
  

       This is a good idea, but unfortunately is based on the wrong biology.   

       Telomerase is not a hormone, it's an enzyme (actually an enzyme complex). As soon as it gets released from a cell, it's going to get proteolysed and, even if it weren't, it's not going to get into another cell (except uptake for the express porpoise of destroying it).   

       //I'm not sure how to only kill one of two cancer cells.// Well, you and many others.   

       //the overall body then receives enough telomerase, so that the whole body can live normally AND immortally. // Uh, no three times. Periodic expression of telomerase in cells is one of the necessities for them to be immortal, but it's almost certainly not sufficient.   

       Overall, a good idea marred only by the erroneous foundation, lack of plausible mechanism, and uncertain outcome.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 11 2015
  

       // A major reason this Idea is HalfBaked is, I'm not sure how to only kill one of two cancer cells. ...nanotechnology...//   

       That's pretty much why the idea isn't _even_ halfbaked.   

       Suppose we had nanotechnology capable of doing this. If we could do that, we could certainly more easily kill both cancer cells, and efficiently repair the old, damaged cells using our apparently capable and mature nanotechnology.   

       //remember that the linked Idea states that once in the body, telomerase can infuse into any other cell,//   

       Yeah, that's still not true.
Loris, May 11 2015
  

       (marked-for-tagline)   

       " Overall, a good idea marred only by the erroneous foundation, lack of plausible mechanism, and uncertain outcome. "
normzone, May 11 2015
  

       [CraigD] and others, I'm pretty sure tests have been made with injected telomerase (into the bloodstream), and the enzyme DOES penetrate cell walls and rebuild telomeres. What most certainly can't work is trying to take it in a pill, because stomach acids destroy telomerase.   

       [MaxwellBuchanan], thanks for the enzyme/hormone correction. Yes, I'm quite aware of this Idea's fundamental weakness, needing a mechanism that still needs to be figured-out. The way nanotech research is going, however, well, that's why I decided to post this Idea, anyway. I might note that I actually had this Idea years and years ago, but held off posting it at least partly because of that problem --which I now think is solvable.
Vernon, May 11 2015
  

       //I'm pretty sure tests have been made with injected telomerase (into the bloodstream), and the enzyme DOES penetrate cell walls and rebuild telomeres.//   

       Well, if you could provide a link to that it would help.   

       I just tried googling "injected telomerase" (without quotes) and the top links are these:   

       > Telomerase as a Fountain of Youth
> 1 Nov 2012 - But the body keeps telomerase locked in a strongbox*, and ... You can't eat telomerase or even inject it, because it is only effective inside the ...
  

       > Telomerase Gene Therapy Extends Lives Of Mice By Up To ...
> 24 May 2012 - After being injected with the telomerase gene, adult and old mice lived 24 percent and 13 percent longer, respectively.
  

       > Harvard team successfully reverses the aging process in mice
> 29 Nov 2010 - Then, they gave the mice injections to re-activate the telomerase enzyme – expecting to see the aging process slow down to normal levels.
  

       > Telomerase gene therapy in adult and old mice delays ...
> 15 May 2012 - See "Telomerase gene therapy: a novel approach to combat aging" in .... from AAV9-mTERT injected mice compared to AAV9-eGFP controls ...
  

       and many more in that vein.   

       I only quickly scanned the top three, and they either flat out say injecting telomerase doesn't help (the top one) or clearly say that the process involved some sort of gene therapy. I think you're probably mis-remembering that.
Loris, May 12 2015
  

       And quite apart from that - your planned benefit is to release the telomerase by 'exploding' the dead cells.   

       I have a couple of issues with that:
The amount of telomerase present is going to be tiny.
The amount of non-telomerase substances is orders of magnitude larger.
When cells die in a multicellular organism, they typically attempt to undergo a process known as 'programmed cell death', or apoptosis. They do this so as to not spew their innards around, because that has deleterious consequences.
Loris, May 12 2015
  

       //clearly say that the process involved some sort of gene therapy//   

       If the general public will just let us d*ck around with viruses routinely, we can get a lot done. I think a re-branding is necessary, "Synthetic protein encapsulated gene delivery system" or something.
bs0u0155, May 12 2015
  

       // I'm pretty sure tests have been made with injected telomerase (into the bloodstream), and the enzyme DOES penetrate cell walls and rebuild telomeres.// I'm pretty sure not.   

       //If the general public will just let us d*ck around with viruses routinely, we can get a lot done.// Tell me about it. Safety concerns of one sort or another are currently responsible for the net deaths of about 50 million people annually*, and the number is increasing.   

       (*That's quite a conservative estimate. It's not unreasonable to estimate the number at closer to 500 million.)
MaxwellBuchanan, May 12 2015
  

       I am not sure why a random normal cell would want telomerase, to repair its telomeres. It should not want it; that sort of repair is disallowed for cells in its caste.   

       Stem cells which do repair their own telomeres make their own stem quality telomerase to do it. Why would a patrician stem cell wipe off telomerase spewed from some loathsome dying mutant and use that on itself?
bungston, May 12 2015
  

       //net deaths of about 50 million people annually//   

       "Ah, cystic fibrosis is it? Lovely, have that sorted in a jiffy. A few jabs of this here wt CFTR lentivirus, see the receptionist on the way out for cancer screening if you would. Next!"
bs0u0155, May 12 2015
  

       Exactly. Not to mention HIV, most cancers, Alzheimer's... in fact pretty much anything that people die of.   

       My estimate is that the insistence on removing absolutely all risk from research currently slows progress by about 30%. I'm taking 1960 as a baseline (ie, the time at which risk and progress were reasonably balanced, so research could be said not to be slowed). So, if you guesstimate the number of people who die annually of diseases that are likely to be treatable soon, and factor in the amount by which those treatments have been delayed, you get some very very huge numbers.   

       Some of the regulations are supposed to protect either patients (fine - though someone dying of bone cancer might be appalled at some of the stupidity that's in place to protect them and their data); or the public (fine again, though a lot of the regulations have no benefit and avert no risks). However, a lot of the regulations are there to protect the researchers, and I object to that. If I believe strongly that something is worthwhile, and that it may save lives or prevent misery, I think I have every right to put my life on the line to pursue it.   

       Phew. Good job I'm taking these rant-prevention pills.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 12 2015
  

       //Phew. Good job I'm taking these rant-prevention pills//   

       I'd wager that they're performing no better than placebo right now. I picked CF because it's such a glaring example.   

       Benefits: Fertility, Ability to digest food and no more handfulls of pills per meal, No diabetes and associated daily insulin, No dependence on (multiple) daily chest physiotherapy, Cons: You *might* get cancer, which we could have a reasonable stab at treating.
bs0u0155, May 12 2015
  

       Yep, CF's a good one. Current median age of death is about late 20's. I think if you offered a hundred mid- 20's CF sufferers the option to undergo an experimental treatment with a 25% chance of cure, 25% chance of being fatal (which is very pessimistic) and 50% chance of doing nothing, maybe 10-20 of them would go for it.   

       But what vexes me more is the view that there must be zero risk not only for patients, but for the researchers. And the public must be protected not only from actual risks (however small) but from risks which are nonsensical. It's as if the lives of patients count for nothing - a 0.0001% risk to a researcher or to the public far outweighs a 50% risk to the patient.   

       People die, all the time, every single second of the day, because of shit like this.   

       At work, we spent a day learning how to do risk assessments. There is (I would guess) a <<0.1% chance that it saved one of us (based on the fatality rate in the days before risk assessments). Meanwhile, if you calculate the number of lives saved by therapeutics coming out of my [former] lab, and delay them all by one working day, you've killed maybe a dozen people. You really truly have.   

       <knocks back another pill>
MaxwellBuchanan, May 12 2015
  

       // what about the lives saved by a researcher continuing with research over a lifetime ? //   

       When I talked about net fatalities, that included the fantastically small number of potentially dead researchers, and the lives they may have saved.   

       Seriously, disease is a war. Lots of people get killed. More people are killed by disease than by any war you care to name. But our army has strict instructions not to do anything at all risky.   

       Could somebody please get me off this topic? I can see it's not going to lead anywhere.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 12 2015
  

       Are those rant prevention pills over the counter or special order? Do you have enough to share?
normzone, May 12 2015
  

       I whipped them up in the lab late one night.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 12 2015
  

       //Seriously, disease is a war.//   

       It's more like Whack-a-mole*. Statins reduce heart attacks, result in more heart failure and cancer, Alzheimer's etc. But you're right, Whack-a-mole is hard when you have one hand tied behind your back an the other hand spends 73% of it's time not whacking moles.   

       *2 ripe avocados roughly fork-mashed, 1/2 small red onion finely chopped, 4 cloves garlic, utterly smashed, medium fleshy tomato in 1/16ths, teaspoon of sea salt, juice of a lime. Should totally fill a 1 pt mason jar, add pits if not.
bs0u0155, May 13 2015
  
      
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