Telomeres And Cancer
Cancer cells are problematic because they don’t know how to die. Cells normally die off when they can no longer divide, and their division is controlled by their telomeres.
Telomeres are caps of junk DNA on he ends of chromosomes that allow cells to divide without damaging the DNA of chromosomes that actually carry the genetic information of the cells.
Telomeres get shorter each time a cell divides which limits the life of a cell.
Once the telomeres are shortened to a certain length cells aren’t able to divide anymore because division at that point would corrupt the genetic information of the chromosomes.
Telomerase are enzymes that are able to build back telomeres and extend the life of cells, and normal cells normally don’t produce it.
Cancer cells undergo mutations that allow them to make the enzyme, which is why cancer cells are able to keep growing without dying.