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‘Immortality Enzyme’ Wins Three Americans Nobel Prize

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Three American scientists shared the Nobel Prize in medicine for research linked to telomerase, an “immortality enzyme” that allows cells to divide continuously without dying and could play a role in the uncontrolled spread of cancer cells.

Human genes are packed into chromosomes, which are capped by telomeres. Telomeres get shorter each time a cell divides — except in cells with the telomerase enzyme. When the caps get too short, the cell can’t divide anymore and dies. While the telomerase enzyme isn’t active in most human cells, which stop reproducing and eventually die, it has been found in cancer cells, the Nobel committee for the medicine prize said in a statement on its Web site…

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