Immortal 0+

Sonya Pemberton, USA 2010, English version / Czech subtitles, 55 min

Beyond any face cream, cosmetic surgery or antioxidant pill, an extraordinary secret of renewal lies in the discovery of Australian scientist, Professor Elizabeth Blackburn. She has won the Gruber Prize and the Lasker Prize, two of the top international awards in medical research, and in 2009 has been awarded Nobel Prize for Medicine. Liz Blackburn discovered that as our cells divide and grow, a telomere - a small DNA cap at the end of each chromosome - protects our precious DNA from damage. She showed that an enzyme, called telomerase, repairs the telomeres and 'keeps DNA young'. Her breakthroughs have revolutionized our understanding of the aging process. Several new telomerase-based drugs have entered Phase II and III clinical trials. And there is a very real race for the ultimate anti-aging pill. Liz also masterminded new insights into stress and cancer. Current research reveals stressed people have shorter telomeres. Shorter telomers appear to predispose us to disease and cancer, and lead to shorter lives. Yet astonishingly, Liz discovered meditation appears to stall the process. Ironically, cancer is the true immortal. It has the ability to replicate effectively, endlessly. And cancer cells are overly rich in telomerase. Is the key to cancer's deadly success the clue to endless life? Aging, stress and cancer: three of the greatest fears of our times. All interconnected, and profoundly linked to the discovery of one remarkable Australian woman.

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