Telomerase Delays Lou Gehrig’s Disease
Israeli scientists at Ben Gurion University of the Negev in Be’er Sheva have just completed a study proving the protein enzyme telomerase can delay development of Lou Gehrig’s disease in laboratory mice – a medical breakthrough that may carry massive implications for human sufferers with the disease. The team led by Prof. Esther Priel, director of the School for Medical Laboratory Sciences, and colleagues Prof. Aviv Gazit and Prof. Shimon Slavin (both formerly of Hebrew University), together developed chemical compounds which boost the supply of telomerase. The enzyme slows the progress of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, ALS – also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease – in laboratory mice. Priel, of the Shraga Segal Department of Microbiology and Immunology in the Faculty of Health Sciences, and students Erez Eitan and Eylon Tichon, showed that the compounds raise the levels of telomerase in human cells, stem cells and lab mice. In 2009, scientists Elizabeth H. Blackburn, Carol W. Greider and Jack W. Szostak won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine “for the discovery of how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase.”
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