Re: [IWAR] BIO cell life extension

From: enelsonat_private
Date: Sat Jan 17 1998 - 00:06:36 PST

  • Next message: Mark Hedges: "Re: [IWAR] BIO cell life extension"

    Interesting perspective.  Keep em coming.
    Eric Nelson
    At 06:06 PM 98 01 16 -0800, you wrote:
    >OpEd piece posted to iwar and g2i:
    >This fountain of youth on the human odyssey long enslaved the soul of
    >adventurers and treasure seekers, and now we may actually find it in the
    >laboratory. Everything in this day and age seems to exponentiate --
    >longevity of life included. The birth rate's finally showing signs of
    >dropping as third world nations enter superindustrialization. Most
    >projections -- of necessity inaccurate -- predict the top off population
    >level at 12 to 20 billion humans by about 2040 or so (U.N., WHO, etc.). The
    >projections do not, however, take into account the exponentiation of
    >increasing longevity, for which biotechnology aims, and which it might
    >actually enable.
    >The message must be carried across the world: stop breeding, and start
    >taking care of the rest of life here. We've done so much damage. If we live
    >to be 200, or 2000, we might actually learn something. Maybe we humans will
    >try to do some good work for the neighbors, instead.
    >In the current real world, several interesting science projects will have
    >astounding implications. The ECHO project and other artificial life and
    >intelligence experiments may spawn intelligences beyond our own, who
    >replicate and evolve their essences a billion times faster than our
    >molecular DNA. The physics crew are hard at work on wormholes and spooky
    >action -- that bit a while ago about transferring a particle across a
    >distance with no relativistic time lag really caught my eye. There's
    >teleomeres, cloning, and most notably, straight up genetic engineering.
    >There's nanotechnology and superconductors. There's fusion and future
    >subatomic power sources. They finally got a sustainable fusion reaction
    >going, though with negative power output. Fusion, as opposed to nuclear
    >fission power, produces low radiation, uses sea water as fuel (50 gallons
    >could theoretically power New York City for a year), and sustains a
    >reaction that doesn't chain when uncontained but instead almost immediately
    >shuts itself down.
    >Free electricity, free food, free material goods of most kinds -- yes,
    >technology will change the "political economy". If you feel you've got to
    >stop these things because then you'll be out of a job, you need to get with
    >it; stop destroying and start moving forward. Use your imagination. There
    >will be new things to trade, and new things to think about. It's essential
    >we develop peace coexistant with personal freedoms of thought and
    >communication, to help ensure the continuing progress of the builders'
    >projects. It started before the Temple of Solomon. Occasionally some army
    >of ignorant savages burns part of it down, but overall, it doesn't look
    >like it can be stopped...whatever it is....
    >Longevity technology like the teleomere work mentioned below may make
    >standard humans live several hundred years, but what happens to the more
    >adventurous among us? Read a science fiction tale, Hyperion, and its
    >sequels, by Dan Simmons. They are better than dear John's Revelation, in my
    >humble opinion. Hyperion calls the adventurous ones the "Ousters". In the
    >21st and 22nd centuries, say the books, the Ousters engineer their DNA and
    >RNA and use robotic and biotic nanotechnology to enhance and change their
    >form of life down into the sub-molecular level. They decide not to populate
    >other earth-type planets, but to populate the darkness of space itself.
    >They engineer themselves to adapt to extremely harsh conditions. Some have
    >great angel wings and live in zero gravity; others take into them parts of
    >plants and use photosynthesis to survive on barren worlds. They are
    >persecuted by the "normal humans" as mutants and abominations, to the point
    >of interstellar war, but they are beautiful, and they represent the
    >continuation of changing life.
    >Their philosophy contrasts with that of the parasitic artificial
    >intelligence and the stagnant human population under their insidious
    >control. The regular humans go on doing what they've always done -- invade
    >someone else's land, take over, kill off most of the existing species and
    >import their own world to assuage with carnal violence their neurotic and
    >irrational fear of the unknown. The Ousters of Simmons' novels do not
    >assault life where it already thrives; they instead bring life to where it
    >does not yet exist. There are some A.I.s who side with them, too.
    >They moved on. I want to move on. The real world is much bigger than the
    >form of the human ape and our conceited drive to destroy anything not like
    >The interesting idea sourcing in some of the ancient buddhism and kabbalah
    >scripts we even need technology to do all this stuff? Maybe we just
    >don't have any idea of the kinds of things we can do just by thinking.
    >Maybe, thought Socrates, we just need to remember the things we knew before
    >we arrived.
    >Mark Hedges
    >>This has long-term societal implications, one of those breakthroughs
    >>that if carried forward will radically change the political economy.
    >>   Tuesday January 13 6:30 PM EST
    >>Human Cell Lifespan Extended
    >>   NEW YORK (Reuters) -- For the first time, researchers have confirmed
    >>   that the "clock" thought to control aging in human cells does indeed
    >>   dictate that process. What's more, they have found a way to circumvent
    >>   the process -- extending the lifespan of normal, healthy human cells,
    >>   according to a report in Science.
    >>   The finding has "profound" implications for the study of cancer, which
    >>   may use the same process to escape the aging process, according to an
    >>   editorial accompanying the study.
    >>   And it may lead to treatment for human disease caused by worn out cells,
    >>   such as macular degeneration -- the leading cause of blindness in those
    >>   over 65.
    >>   "This research raises the possibility that we could take a patient's own
    >>   cells, rejuvenate them, then modify the cells as needed and give them
    >>   back to the patient to treat a variety of genetic and other diseases,"
    >>   said senior investigator Dr. Woodring E. Wright in a statement released
    >>   by the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. "The
    >>   potential long-term applications are simply staggering," said Wright, a
    >>   professor of cell biology and neuroscience. The study was a
    >>   collaborative effort involving researchers at the medical center and at
    >>   Geron Corp., in Menlo Park, California.
    >>   Most cells will divide roughly 50 times in the laboratory before
    >>   entering a resting state known as senescence, a process that also occurs
    >>   in the body. For more than a decade, researchers have suspected that
    >>   telomeres, sections of DNA at the tips of chromosomes, control that
    >>   process.
    >>   Like minutes ticking on a clock, a piece of telomere is lost each time
    >>   the cell divides. But some cells contain an enzyme, called telomerase,
    >>   that can re-build the telomere after cell division.
    >>   In the new study, the gene for telomerase was inserted inside three
    >>   types of cells that don't normally carry the enzyme -- retinal pigment
    >>   epithelial cells, foreskin fibroblasts, and the vascular endothelial
    >>   cells -- or those lining blood vessels. In contrast with cultured cells
    >>   that have telomere shortening, the genetically engineered cells
    >>   continued to vigorously divide and have long telomeres.
    >>   The treated cell population doubled at least 20 more times than normal
    >>   and continues to grow, according to the report. The new findings confirm
    >>   that telomeres are the "clock" that keeps cells from growing out of
    >>   control, according to an editorial by Titia de Lange, of the Laboratory
    >>   for Cell Biology and Genetics at The Rockefeller University in New York.
    >>   And that mechanism has all "the makings of a powerful tumor suppressor
    >>   system," de Lange wrote.
    >>   "The results should strengthen the determination of those who are
    >>   searching for telomerase inhibitors as potential anti-cancer agents."
    >>   SOURCE: Science (1998;279:349-352, 334-335)

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