Saturday, November 25, 2006
Cancer vs. Longevity (and Sevolites)
Dec 2006 Issue of Discover Magazine
A half page article in the current Discover struck a chord with the Okal Rel Universe. Written by Discover staff writer Jessica Ruvinsky, "Is Cancer the Price of Longevity?" reports on research with mice that suggests we evade cancer as we age at the cost of a build up of P16(INK4a), a protein that inhibits regenerative processes. That works for Sevolites, since the cost of enduring youth and regenerative ability -- for highborns -- is increasing risk of regenerative cancer. While theoretically immortal, highborns are unlikely to live beyond 200 years or without sophisticated medical attentions from the Lorels. In The Courtesan Prince, for example, Princess H'Us is dying of regenerative cancer at around 200 years of age. The oldest Sevolite in the novel series planned by myself and Alison is around 400 years old, but Lorel interventions apply in spades in her case. And they are very sophisticated. Which suits me because I have always felt the holy grail of immortality would not be a simple one to solve biologically, nor in terms of the social ramifications for any culture that achieves it.

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