In the Forbidden Letters to Philip Gardiner alchemy is discussed. Alchemy is not about chemistry, as most people think, it is a metaphore. The turning of 'lead into gold' is in reality the turning of a mortal body into an immortal body.
This is metaphysics of course, but the alchemical process is discussed in an article on those Letters too by Anna Moshiu (a physicist) who is asking herself whether telomerase could be involved in the alchemical process.
I would love to hear your opinion on this all.
The Forbidden Letters can be found at world-mysteries.com/PhilipGardiner/forbidden_letters.htm, the link to the whole Anna Moshiu article is on top of the Letters.
Here is a part of that article.
I. On the first Forbidden Letter
"(...)if you produce that stone and were consumed and reproduced through that fire, you will achieve individual and physical immortality, and nothing less."
-- [the Paris 4]
Could the alchemical process result in the production of telomerase, in such a way, that not only the 'fountain of youth' is opened, but also the 'fountain of immortality'? Physicians of course are reluctant to speculate on anything more than immortality for individual cells. But who knows, perhaps Father Alchemy will make use of telomerase nevertheless to enable the whole body (as a system) to become immortal.
-- A biologist (under nickname) on a forum has this on telomerase (edited by me):
"Scientists announced that they have succeeded in producing cells that divide many times over their normal limit. In normal cells, division takes place a certain number of times and then the cell stops dividing. Likewise, cells in vitro usually divide about 50 times or so before they cease dividing. Scientists succeeded in producing cells that divided over 90 times with no signs of slowing down! But how? In the nucleus of a cell, each chromosome contains the genetic information, aka DNA, for the individual. When cells divide, DNA is replicated. On the end of chromosomes is a protective "cap" of sorts, called a telomere. As cells divide, the telomere becomes shorter and shorter until the cell ages and stops dividing. Scientists have known that telomere shortening is associated with the aging process, but it wasn't known whether shortening is an exact cause or a byproduct of aging. Last week, scientists at Geron Corporation and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center added an enzyme called telomerase to the cell's chromosomes. Telomerase caused the telomeres to grow longer, thus circumventing the normal shortening process. From this experiment, scientists were able to conclude that telomeres do act as a biological clock in the aging process. This could have interesting implications. Theoretically, scientists would be able to treat a variety of genetic defects and/or diseases by removing a group of cells from a person, rejuvenating them, and returning them. There are several unanswered questions. Because cancerous cells have telomeres that do not shorten, there is some debate whether or not the natural shortening of telomeres is an evolutionary adaptation to ward off cancer. By circumventing this natural process, we may in fact be destroying a natural defense mechanism of the body. As additional experiments and investigations are performed, we will be better able to see if this process is indeed an "immortality" breakthrough. What do you think? Will we achieve cell immortality? What are the implications for future generations?"
CNN has the following story (edited by me):
"Researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center say they have discovered a cellular "fountain of youth" that enables human cells to avoid normal aging and cell death. The finding won't make people any younger or allow them to live forever, but the researchers say it could keep them healthier longer. "This process may increase the normal health span, but not the normal life span," said Dr. Jerry Shay of the University of Texas, the lead researcher.
"We're not saying that this will give people something to make them live longer."
Shay said Tuesday that the work confirms that cells can be kept youthful far beyond their normal life span by blocking a natural aging and dying process. By keeping the cells alive and dividing, he said, it may be possible to control age-related disorders ranging from skin wrinkling to some types of blindness and even cardiovascular disease. Shay said the work also could lead to drugs that will stop the cells from dying and preserve the functioning of parts of the body that normally decline with age."
"Each time a cell divides it loses a little bit of the telomere. The telomere eventually becomes too short to protect the chromosome, which means the cell can no longer divide and it dies. In effect, Shay said, the telomere acts as a biological clock that stops cell division and causes aging. In earlier research, Shay and others found that some cancer and reproductive cells release telomerase, which keeps the telomere from shortening. It is also one of the factors that allows some cancer cells to grow uncontrollably. Normal cells do not produce telomerase."
And Wikipedia has this (edited by me):
"With the activation of telomerase, some types of cells and their offspring become immortal. Cancer cells are considered 'immortal' because telomerase activity allows them to divide forever, which is why they can form a tumor. A good example of cancer cells' immortality is HeLa cells. HeLa cells were originally removed from the cervical cancer of Henrietta Lacks in 1951 and are still used in laboratories as a model cell line. They are indeed immortal - daily production of HeLa cells is estimated at several tons - all from the few cells taken from Ms. Lacks' tumor."