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There is Telomere and Then There’s Cancer


With the many studies involved around cancer prevention and cure, experts had dwelled in the study for its roots. They had discovered that cancer is irregular cells. They had also known that cancers are triggered because of an instability of genes over a period of time. This instability had something to do with the telomeres present in the chromosomes.

Telomeres are the white tip of the chromosomes that keep the chromosomes, gene instructions at their replicas in place when cell division occurs. They shorten when cells divide. Recent studies show that telomeres are very related to cancer and here is how.

Fusion of Chromosome Ends 

Telomeres are the ones who keep the chromosomes intact and not get tangled up with each other. They are also used in cell division. However, if the telomeres are too short or by some genetic mutation, are no longer present in the chromosome, this will cause a fusion between the ends of the chromosomes. A fusion between chromosome ends can lead to genomic instability and eventually will trigger cancer cells. 

Shortening of Telomeres

Telomere Shortening is a very natural thing to occur. However, a rapid shortening of the telomere can also trigger the cells to become cancerous. This occurs because of a gene mutation and insufficient telomerase enzyme in the cells. This can also cause rapid aging of cells and eventually death.

Reactivation of Telomerase

Telomerase is very important especially when it comes to preventing the telomere to shorten very fast. It reduced the risks of early aging. However, this can be very lethal if it is present in an active cancer cell. It will most likely replicate the damaged cells. This can also help in spreading the cancer cells in neighboring tissues and even help trigger more cancer cells in different areas.

Incomplete Replication of Cells 

Another telomere deficiency that can cause cancer is the incomplete replication of cells. When cells go under cell division, each chromosome must have replicated a complete set of chromosomes that will be separated during the division. However, if the chromosomes fail to replicate completely its chromosome components, it will cause genomic instability when the division of that particular cell occurs. Thus, causing the cell to generate its cancerous properties.

Prevention of Death on Cells

When the chromosome reached its Hayflick’s limit, which is the cell division limit of the chromosomes, the cells will eventually die. However, a reactivation of telomerase in the dying cell can cause complications. This will prevent the death of the cells and instead will abnormally multiply and will produce cancer cells. Telomerase will further help the replication of cancer cells and prevent this dangerous cells from dying.

With all of these telomere contributions in triggering the cancer cells, one can conclude the strong connection between telomeres and cancer. Scientists are trying to find ways for the telomere to not become or trigger cancer cells. This must not be done by eliminating the telomerase because this will cause rapid aging and early death. However, telomerase must not be able to prevent the dying cells from dying. Up to this date, experts are still undergoing further research.

 

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