August 8, 2012

How Senescent Cells Spur Aging and Cancer


In 1999 JAN M. VAN deursen and his colleagues at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., wanted to see whether mangled chromosomes cause cancer. So they engineered mice deficient in a protein that helps to maintain chromosomal integrity. The rodents' coils of DNA were duly deranged. Surprisingly, though, the animals were not particularly tumor-prone. Instead they developed a strange grab bag of ills, including cataracts, dwindling muscles, rapid thinning of fat under the skin and progressive spinal curvature, that made them look like one-humped camels. They also tended to die young.


Scientific American by David Stipp

Tags: Cancer, chromosomes, DNA, Mayo Clinic Rochester, Scientific American, tumors

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