Dark side to fas­ci­nat­ing find hailed a ‘cure’ for age­ing

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - TELEVISION -

Aus­tralian doc­u­men­tary, Im­mor­tal, has been nom­i­nated for a pres­ti­gious Emmy award in the US. Im­mor­tal, which broad­cast in Aus­tralia in 2010 as part of the Se­crets of the Hu­man Body sea­son on SBS, was reti­tled De­cod­ing Im­mor­tal­ity for an Amer­i­can au­di­ence and broad­cast on the Smithsonian Chan­nel in the US. It has now been nom­i­nated for a News and Doc­u­men­tary Emmy Award in the Out­stand­ing Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy Pro­gram­ming cat­e­gory. The News and Doc­u­men­tary Emmy Awards will be held at the Fred­er­ick P. Rose Hall in New York’s Time Warner Cen­tre on Oc­to­ber 1. Im­mor­tal fol­lows the work of No­bel Prize-win­ning Aus­tralian sci­en­tist El­iz­a­beth Black­burn (pic­tured). In 2009, Pro­fes­sor Black­burn and her fel­low re­searchers dis­cov­ered an en­zyme deep in the DNA of a sin­gle-cell pond crea­ture, the so-called ‘‘im­mor­tal­is­ing’’ en­zyme – a dis­cov­ery that earned her the No­bel Prize for Phys­i­ol­ogy or Medicine. The dis­cov­ery has been hailed by some as a ‘‘cure’’ for age­ing. Mid­dle-aged hu­man cells have been re­plen­ished and re­ju­ve­nated by trig­ger­ing this en­zyme, be­com­ing, in ef­fect, young again. But the dark side to this in­cred­i­ble find is that the ‘‘im­mor­tal­is­ing’’ en­zyme that fu­els life also fu­els can­cer. Im­mor­tal, five years in the mak­ing, re­veals the in­ner work­ings of this bi­o­log­i­cal para­dox.

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