Telomerase Movie

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What is cancer and can someone explain in detail of what happened in the movie “cancer warriors”?

What is Cancer?
How are angiogenesis and telomerase related to cancer?
Lastly, can someone explain what happened in the movie “Cancer Warriors” in detail? Like what it is teaching you about. Best one gets full points

Cancer is when any cell in the body continues to replicate without stopping- its a bit more complicated than that but in general these cells have mutated (changed) their DNA to the point that they continue to grow beyond the bodys ability to stop it. Why is that so bad? well they usually grow pretty fast and need nutrients, blood and oxygen to do that- so they invade other tissues space and can break off and implant somewhere else- anywhere it can get food, eliminate waste and grow. It can be very bad if it gets into the lymphatic system which is a pipeline to the entire body, but in some cases like colon cancer which has a really low mortality- the cancer cellular growth is so slow most times the cancer can be caught early and removed. Cancers with higher mortality affect more vital organs first either grow rapidly, or metastasize quickly.

Cancer can be cured if you can take out all the abberant (abnormal) cells, the problem is its hard to make sure you get every single cell, and you would have had to caught the cancer before any one single cancer cell spread to another tissue, or lymphatic vessel which is hard to do… this is why screening is so important esp for breast, lung and liver cancer which are the cancers most easily spread throughout the body.

Angiogenesis is a medical term which describes the growth of new blood vessels. It doesnt have to be bad- with coronary artery disease in the heart the heart muscle will grow new blood vessels to try to get around tiny blockages and fat occluded vessels. Same thing with the eye and hypertension, the eye will put out new blood vessels to provide collateral flow to keep the organ hydrated and nourished.

The problem is cancer cells have very high blood demands (compared to normal cells) because of their unrestrained growth rate- as such the cancer cells send out signals and new blood vessels are made- problem is these vessels dont work as well as the ones you normally have and they tend to leak causing edema, inflammation among other things which can cause trouble depending on its location

Telomerase- is an enzyme that is involved in cellular replication ( in particular DNA replication within cells)… Telomerase is responsible for maintaining the length of the ends of the chromosomes. It adds specific nucleotide repeats to the ends of human chromosomes. Why? With each replication cycle the ends of chromosomes tend to get truncated by the mechanistic process of replication. Telomerase helps keep all the chromosomes balanced length.

Now certain genetic diseases that cause a problem with telomerase affect the chromosome length during replication… its a problem because when they shorten you lose the ability to make functional proteins… not good. however for cancer research if we can attack the telomerase inside cancercells and stop it from working then theoretically the cancer cells would die as the chromosomes got shorter and shorter with each cycle. Sounds great- problem is they really dont know how to find telomerase or its structure… but when they can isolate it the great part is the drug would have little side effects because most all cells in the body are not actively replicating and so telomerase would be inactivated leaving the drug to have its strongest effect on the cancer cells.

Cancer Warriors is a PBS movie available for free watching online at

It talks about a new drug called Endostatin which will attack the new blood vessels (angiogensis) talked about earlier- in that sense it will “starve” the cancer because no matter what genetic malformations allowed the cell to grow uncontrolled- it cannot replicate without energy, oxygen, and nutrients. They are trying to find a drug which not only stops angiogenesis but can do it selectively- meaning affect only abnormal cancer cell angiogenesis… you dont want to stop angiogenesis in the body in general because we need to create new vessels to get past obstructions, to repair after traumatic events, to create collateral flow etc…

So far Endostatin has not shown any effect on 63 patients total of two separate trials- so its not an approved anti-angiogenic drug

The movie talks about angiogenesis, its discovery, research on animals, and how endostatin should work. It goes into the discovery of angiogenesis and its role in tumors… Dr Judah Folkman – whose research in angiogenesis led to the discovery of endostatin and worked in childrens cancer research died in Jan of this year from a heart attack

Side note: there is research out there using viruses and even antibodies (small proteins which can tell normal material from extraneous material) which can be targeted to deliver chemotherapy to the specific tissue affected by cancer and spare the patient of the harmful side effects of chemotherapy. Again a lot of this is in research but so much money is pouring out to cure these deadly cancers a breakthrough is s

introduction to telomerase.flv