If one thing is for sure, it is mitochondrion’s ascending career in late biology. Mitochondria are the power centers of the eukariotic cell and eventually tell the nucleus what to do next: die or live. Mitos do not exist stably as distinct, individual, autonomous organelles according to new results, but form a highly dynamic semi-tubular network.
Mitochondria are bacterium size, membrane-bound organelles in the eukaryotic cell and were descended from prokaryotic endosymbionts about two billion years ago.
Mitos are the main energy supplier, the power centers of the eukariotic cell, in the form of ATP, the vast majority of cellular Reactive Oxigen Species (ROS, oxidants), approximately 90% can be traced back to the mitochondria. The main apoptotic signals of programmed cell death come from there, so eventually mitochondria tell the cell (i.e. the nucleus) what to do next: die or live.
In the past decade a new concept of mitochondrial presence and spatial distribution in the host cell was articulated based on microscopy observation, which suggested the fusion and fission of different mitochondria: the mitochondrial network concept. Mitochondria form a highly dynamic semi-tubular network in the cell, the morphology of which is regulated by movements along the cytoskeleton and the balance of mitochondrial fusion and fission events. Recent developments identified some essential protein players in fusion and fission machinery of mitochondria in eukaryotic cells, like GTPases, Mfn1, Mfn2 in fusion and Drp1 in fragmentation. According to the new network mitochondrion concept, mitochondria do not exist stably as distinct, individual, autonomous organelles. Rather, mitochondria form a network within cells; their continous fusion and fission is a highly dynamic process, adapting to the role the mitochondrion actually has in the cell. Increasing results confirm the role of mitochondrial fission and fragmentation in most forms of apoptosis, even as a cause. This suggests that fragmented mitochondria are in a „bad“ condition, under oxidative stress. Conversely, for example fragmentation of mitochondria in hippocampal neurons seems to have a role in the proper function of neuronal protrusions. On the other hand, mitochondrial fusion is thought to have a role in the maintenance of correct mitochondrial function.
So if you ask a cell, what she intends to do, you’d better ask and take a look at her mitochondria first.
Human stem cell stained with Mitotracker Red, which specifically bind to mitochondria, visualized in a black-and-white retro style. You can see the mitochondrial structure of the cell, mitochondria in an elongated form. Author’s shot.
In regenerative medicine mitochondria’s role will be much more important as we become more and more familiar with their tricks. In my opinion a whole new and powerful subfield will arise in biomedicine, organellar therapy, which is subcellular (not cell transplantation) and supramolecular (not classical pharmacology).
When talking about a maximum life extension therapy it is intuitively credible that the moral judgement concerning this treatment will also depend on the putative cost of the technology. To handle this situation clearly, it is worth differentiating between three different conditions.
First, when the expense of the treatment (let it be the cost of one complete regeneration of an adult human body, i.e. the regeneration of all body parts, organs and tissues) is so high that only the richest people can afford it and the state obviously cannot guarantee it.
Second, the treatment is quite expensive, yet it is accessible to the large part of the middle class, but the state again cannot guarantee it.
Third,the cost of the treatment is cheap enough that the state can guarantee it for its citizens.
Life extension as business will also depend largely on the cost of the technology.
from here: “Bush on Wednesday rejected the legislation that could have multiplied the federal money going into embryonic stem cell research. Most Americans disagree with the president, according to public opinion polls.”
Science and the need for therapy is stronger than the President. We shall see.
From Wired News: The bill passed 63-37, four votes short of the two-thirds majority that would be needed to override Bush’s veto. California Gov. Schwarzenegger wrote to Bush, “Mr. President, I urge you not to make the first veto of your presidency one that turns America backwards on the path of scientific progress and limits the promise of medical miracles for generations to come.”
When the question is which scientist will be nominated for the Nobel Prize for the first isolation and in vitro maintenance of human embryonic stem cells, this whole vote drama sounds very weird.
Here is my idea: online-offline Pro-Tech campaign&happening for life extension®enerative medicine&biotech which fits well for the participatory politics-driven spirit of Campaigns Wikia and the new and powerful web tools we have. New tools deserves new topics and issues.
Healthy Life Extension (LE) is out of those very rare issues, that could make people go to the streets and demonstrate for the first time that there are many people whose established desire is to live more and eliminate problems concerning aging through science, biotech and medicine. Many particular aims could be targeted in this area from research and health care to human rights too.
So imagine a free, geek performance for LE (more LIFE) when people, aiming high and thinking long term in every age group – old people very welcome -, researchers, coders, doctors, geeks, intellectuals, IT-entrepreneurs, businessmen… who want to live more, go and stand up for their human rights to live as long as they can to express their full human potential and stand up for life extension technologies, (embryonic) stem cell research, tissue engineering and human biotechnology in general. This would be interesting, non-violent. Hippie and hip. Not just -sometimes- boring conferences, gatherings, but lively, funny happenings which make LE aims and supporters really visible. The ideal offline place of this kind of performance would be the U.S., California the home of Proposition 71, or Miami, the Grey Zone.
More Life would be an international, intergenerational movement transcending existing political barriers, linking people together seeking the common denominator. Supporting healthy life extension is celebrating and confirming the value and dignity of human life. Live long enough to live more, than ever.
What better place than here, what better time than now?
If I would use the 2.0 lingo, I could say that the above case is when biotech 2.0 meets political 2.0. By biotech 2.0 here I mean the next, coming stage of medical BT, which has customized products and personalized services, like a continuous regeneration treatment, for healthy people too, and the users of this technology are aware and self-aware. Just like Ray Kurzweil.
Our life is the ultimate user generated content. More life, more content. 🙂
In a brand new book by Chris Anderson, editor in chief of Wired, The Long Tail, Anderson explores the economical and cultural consequences of the so called long tail phenomena, the theory of which states that the market of the web fragment into countless niches and in the broadband era the big money could come from the niche products and services.
With Anderson’s own words: “Our culture and economy are increasingly shifting away from a focus on a relatively small number of hits (mainstream products and markets) at the head of the demand curve, and moving toward a huge number of niches in the tail. In an era without the constraints of physical shelf space and other bottlenecks of distribution, narrowly targeted goods and services can be as economically attracive as mainstream fare.” In chapter 11, called Niche Culture Anderson speculates about the cultural perspective of LT. If LT means infinite choice and ultimate fragmentation of people’s interests then what is the future of common culture which is the glue of society? “People are re-forming into thousands of cultural tribes of interest”… and construct their own cultural narratives. Can the rise of massively parallel culture which will replace traditional mass culture bring a real and present danger to the cohesion of society and common culture or to go niche is good to the freedom and expression of people? On the one hand, some argues that “egocasting” leads to narrow individualism, hurts genuine trials, and disconnects folks, while Anderson argues that “we are more likely encounter other individuals, either by reading their writings, chatting live, or just following their example” People are more strongly tied in a niche, than in supreficial mass culture overlaps. “As much as the blockbuster era seems like the natural state of things, it is mostly an artifact of late-twentieth century broadcast technologies. Before that most culture was local; in the future it will be affinity-based an massively parallel. Mass culture may fade, but common culture will not. We will still share our culture with others, but not with everyone.” Interesting to read, that in the seventies and eighties, in the childhood of Anderson the only places in America to go outside mainstream were library and comic book shop which was definitely other than products of broadcast mass culture. The traces go back to a part of culture, which was arrogantly called high culture before. I think that this culture was always persisted in a niche. Now my comment is that the rising niche culture is a great possibility to revitalize science and philosophy in the niches and offers new and powerful tools extending them to other niche cultures only by shared interest and not by the commands of an ever cloudy “you must read this” authority. You’d better popularise science et al. in a bottom-up way, not by a top-down effort. Web is clearly the future of these disciplines.
The official book launch party is today, on Wednesday, July 12th in New York City.