Apoptotic Adventures While Whale Watching
“So, since you’re starting your third round of chemotherapy, I was - Elizavita? Liz? Hello? Ya’ with me?” Dr. Chargaff looked up, his thick eyebrows with their poly-directional hairs having to move farther up his well tenured forehead to meet my gaze, which had also, a moment ago, been an observer of my spouse’s descent into yet another catatonic state of being.
“She, uh, done this before?”
“Yeah, they’ve been happening fairly regularly since the diagnosis. Usually they happen when she’s on the deck. Lately, I’ve just been ploppin’ down next to her, makein’ sure she’s OK, and, keeping an eye out for the grey whales. That time o’ year, ya know. She doesn’t stay in her mini-coma too long. They haven’t worried her, so I haven’t been worried either. But, this is the first episode outside of our home, which I’m aware of.”
“So…how’s her pain management going…? That Dilaudid I gave her--pretty powerful stuff.” Dr. Chargaff didn’t usually beat around the bush. Usually he would come right out and ask me anything. Most other oncologists that Liz and I had met with displayed an open condescension for my status as a leading bio-medical researcher, a cancer biologist, no less. First impression of Dr. Chargaff was his smile, namely that he had one, and, even though he hadn’t been in an operating room, or in any room messier than the cafeteria in decades, he still wore scrubs, with the obligatory stethoscope around his neck. All the previous Docs wore the requisite tailored Italian shirt with the equally impressive neck tie. Funny, how oncologists seemed so serious compared to other doctors. If any patients needed a little cheer weren’t they the terminally ill ones?
“She hasn’t touched the stuff since the first bout of chemo. Gave her bad dreams, she said. I’ve had one or two, though: eat one of those with a whiskey neat, phew, I’m good for the weekend.”
“Dr. Avigail, I’m sure I don’t need to play advocate for your liver…” Said Dr. Chargaff with a diminutive, grim grin.
“Yes, indeed you don’t.” My mind, via its abstract, yet highly pertinent association mechanism, took me back to all the research associates and interns who took so many smoke breaks throughout the day. What was it about studying the machinery of death that made one want to have a smoke so bad?
I stepped out from behind my wife to a crouching position beside Dr. Chargaff. I placed my hand on Liz’s shoulder and looked into her green eyes. Her new wig was really quite nice; hadn’t really noticed before, but she hadn’t had that hairstyle since we were engaged. It may be called the “bob” when the hair is neck length and curls in under the chin. Liz was still quite stunningly beautiful.
“LIZ, HONEY? ARE YOU IN THERE? YOO-HOO? IT’S ME, EZRA. COME OUT, COME OUT, WHEREVER YOU--“
“Yeah, I’m here…”Liz’s pupils shrank down and refocused on my face. With a smile she said, ”You are a dork!”
“Liz, you had me worried there.”
“Well, Doc, my minds been a little preoccupied lately-sometimes just starts to go quiet for a moment or two. I’ve been running with it, sometimes I get sucked deeper than others. Ezra’s been able to get me out, right, honey?”
“So far, so good.”
Dr. Chargaff walked back to his desk, slowly sat down in his overstuffed leather chair on wheels and intentionally inhaled through his remarkable nose. Looking at me, and then Liz, it seemed he was about to begin to speak, but instead he pushed down on his gold riveted armrests, and, one by one placed both New Balanced feet on his mahogany desk. Liz and I flashed a look at each other; must be bad (worse) news this time. We kinda already knew, though. Dr.Chargaff had one last bout of auto-eye massage, and finally spoke up.
“Liz, as I was saying before, I wanna keep you overnight, tonight, for observation when we start this new, and, well, more potent round of chemotherapy.” As I observed the doctor labor with the bad news, I felt a tinge of understanding of why those other doctors hadn’t respected me in my profession. Yes, we were both working to help people, to keep them alive, but never once did I have to communicate to a Petri dish, or even a lab rat, what was being presented to us right now. “This is the last weapon in our arsenal, Liz. If this doesn’t work…”
As I walked into my laboratory, I shook my traveler’s mug that previously had been full of coffee, confirming the need for another brew. I headed to the back of the lab, passing the shiny automatic coffee maker, and fired the Bunsen burner. I preferred my coffee made in a Chemex; my lab assistants had considered it another useless quirk, until they tasted the coffee. Then, they considered it a useful quirk. With my whistling water kettle securely fastened by a clamp above the blue flame, I headed to my office.
“Dr. Avigail, our grant proposal was accepted!”
“What?” This latest proposal was very important, and, no way was I going to let a false alarm dash my hopes against the rocks of denial--or worse--a status of “still pending.” I had written this plea for additional funding so the lab could purchase a neutrino scanning microscope. Previously, and for nearly a century, the highest resolution image was stonewalled at the size of an electron which was procured via an electron scanning or transmission electron microscope(EM). I felt that the future success of my lab lay in the acceptance of my grant proposal. I had heard nothing for nearly six months from the deliberations committee. Normally, a grant would be accepted or denied within three months, but this was a proposal that was worth many, many times more than anything I had been a part of before. “Bethany, not a good time for joking around.“ I was starting to get a little excited.
“There was a manila envelope on the floor this morning when I got here. I’m sorry-but…but-I opened it right away…I couldn’t resist!” She already had donned a pair of safety glasses, and they were getting a little foggy.
“Well, where is it, my little researcher?” Beth was many things, but definitely not a practical joker, and she rarely said boo to me before lunch. Beth pulled the envelope out from behind her back, and, as she did so, my water, with the Bunsen burner’s inducement, let me know the enthalpic phase change had occurred and I could finally re-up. I poured the first round of hot water into the open, superior end of the hourglass that was filled with brown gold, watched to make sure the air was able to escape upwards through the pour channel so that the coffee could flow downwards and, with a heavy and expectant sigh, pulled out the documents. To acquire a neutrino microscope would mean the powers that be consider my lab worthy of an $8.5 million check. I scanned the letter, zooming past the first couple of needless paragraphs. We were getting the microscope. I dropped the letter on the floor and embraced Bethany; a true scientist, Bethany was not accustomed to communicating or recognizing human emotion, but, she did hug back.
Watching the high-definition monitor that was hooked up to the neutrino microscope, for the first time I saw cellular and molecular activities, in vivo, of a mouse that was in terminal stage cancer. I had set the resolution to a setting only tenfold greater than the standard EM would provide; meaning that one epithelial cell in the mouse was several thousand times larger than the field. The cancer was literally marching from organ to organ. Stunned, hunched over while sitting on my wheeled lab stool, I watched a cancerous cell destroy, one by one, receptors on the membrane of healthy cells. I thought back to my teenage fascination with the Borg, an alien life form from a popular TV show that demanded assimilation; my right brain protested via issuance of a nerd alert. I couldn’t help but chuckle. I had always owned my dorkdom. The malignant cell was seeking out and destroying receptors on the cellular membrane of the healthy cells that helped control apoptosis. It was like I was the first person to view an epic battle in real time, compared to everyone before me who had only been able to try and piece together the manner in which the battle was fought, using only smoldering tanks and shrapnel coated craters. On the monitor, the cancerous tumor grew in size and legion. Looking at the mouse, which was in nylon restraints under the neutrino detector lens, and then back to the monitor, I couldn’t help but imagine my wife under the same lens, only temporarily removed from the destiny of the mouse.
Driving home in my Tesla Roadster that afternoon, I let the top down and turned up the music. I hadn’t done that in a very long time. Speeding along Highway 101, I anticipated each new glimpse of the vast sea through the thick, ever encroaching foliage; I was reminded of why Liz and I chose this place for our home.
I walked out onto our porch, which sat among the old growth Sitka Spruce and Douglas fir trees which served as faithful sentries protecting us and our home from the violent winter storms set off by the Pacific Ocean, which surged far below. Today, however, was an early summer day that allowed for binocular free spotting of the numerous grey-whale spouts in the sapphirine swells below. Elizavita slouched in her favorite deck chair, with her feet resting above her head on the railing of the balcony; had to be a killer on the lower back.
“Liz. Hey.” I began to speak to her. Her eyes were open, but they may well have been scouring the Tokyo skyline, they were so distant. And, as always they were disturbingly lifeless--well, not lifeless, but, just numb, unfeeling. I think that’s why she went into her states, which had become more frequent and lengthy, especially since her second round of chemotherapy was ineffective; ineffective in cancer elimination, but highly effective in destroying quality of life. I set her tootsies, which were attached to forebodingly emaciated legs, on the ground, and straddled her while remaining on my feet; I touched my nose to hers and quietly implored for my wife’s return to her harsh and painful existence.
“Oh, my, Doctor! Do you Eskimo kiss every terminally ill, helpless woman you come across?” Liz always came out of her mini-comas with a witty remark, and a smile. I gave her a wink and then a real kiss.
“You must have a really good time at your special place. “
“Yeah, I’m sure you could sketch some inverse relationship equation or something. I’ve been in a lot of pain lately. I came out here after lunch; been here since. Did you catch some of the whales out there today?” My wife was no uneducated bum herself: PhD in English and history, specifically, Northwest coastal Native American history. Years ago she had commissioned a carving of a totem pole that now stood, covered in moss and lichen, soft to the touch, down in front of our porch on the cliff between our home and the breakers on the cliff below.
“I saw one of ‘em breach before I woke you. Liz, I have an idea. Remember that neutrino microscope I was telling you about?”
“Well, today was the first day we really got to see what it can do. I don’t know if there’s been as exciting a day…maybe when my first paper was accepted for publication, but, that was personal. Today I caught perhaps the first glimpse of what medical research will be like in the future.”
“That big a deal, huh?”
“For the first time we can see, at the sub-atomic level, what cells are doing without first killing them. I watched, on the monitor, malignant cells take the last bit of life from a mouse. I saw the cells of the tumor grow and pinch off the carotid artery.”
“Elizavita, I want to see into your cells. This may be the only way--if we could see exactly what is happening.”
“Ezra, I know you wanna save me. But, I’ve worked my way to the point of acceptance. I am going to die, and I know that you intellectually know this, but I don’t know if you really know this, that this is no abstract idea of one’s mortality. My body is no longer fit for my spirit. I’m leaving you, and soon. I’m not sure you’ve even begun the grieving process, and I’m worried about you, Ezra.”
“You are not dead yet. “
“My love, you are watching me die. I know what this means to you, watching me kill myself despite myself. It’s as if you’ve spent your whole life trying to prevent this, to spare us this pain. Ezra, you need to know that you haven’t failed me. I’ve never thought that, I never will, OK?“
“But, we’re all dying; you’re just moving a little faster than most of us, you--we, we just need time!”
“We’re here, together, now. Make yourself a drink, and come back and pull up a chair next to me. Will you watch the sunset with me tonight?”
“Ohhhhh…Liz…” I hesitantly stood, turned, and headed towards the sliding glass door. As always, her wisdom cut to my bone, to the place where the blood was a deeper, heavier color than what flowed at the surface; real, working blood.
I placed my bottle of Highland Park, 30 year, cask strength, single malt scotch back on the shelf. At 96.2 proof, I liked it neat; I grabbed the Brita pitcher and added a little room temperature water. I turned and headed back for the porch, paused, hesitated, and went back to the kitchen to finagle one of Liz’s Dilaudid pills from its depress-and-turn trick top bottle. Indeed, how depressing, what I was turning into. The long shadows from the bay windows cast an elongated grid along the dirty cream colored bamboo floor and reinforced that I’d better convince Liz to come into my lab before my own miniature escape to a familiar distilled-opiod happy place became another clock to fight against; I wouldn’t fight as hard against this one, though.
Once back out on the porch, I held my wife’s slight hand as tightly as I dared, we were both quiet, watching the light of the day once again acquiesce to the sirens of the sea. For the first time, in a long time, I only sank into ELizavita and soaked up her love.
“Hi, Dr. Chargaff, so glad you could make it.”
“I’ll never turn down an opportunity for some Oregon Coast fishing.” The sun was crawling up the East face of, and peeking over, the peaks of the heavily wooded Coast Mountain Range. When it made its full presence known, it degraded the pre-dawn steely ocean and replaced it with liquid, latticed emerald. I loaded the crab pots, pulled in the mooring, and pointed the bow of my small fishing vessel towards the inlet that was the passage way out of Depot Bay and into the open ocean. After we passed the buoy, the noise of the open throttle made conversation difficult. When my GPS unit informed me that we were approaching my own personal favorite crabbing grounds, I let off the gas and killed the engine. Dr. Chargaff, no stranger to crabbing and fishing was already preparing the pots for dropping, attaching the float, making sure the radio beacon was live.
“How have the crab been so far this year?”
“Well, to be honest, I haven’t dropped any pots since last summer. Since Liz has been sick, I really haven’t been able to spend much time out here.”
“I understand” said Dr. Chargaff, as he threw the first of the pots overboard. “You know, Ezra, we’re both such busy men…When you called me yesterday to invite me out here, I knew there was more than fishing involved. How are you doing? I’ve seen people who’ve been through what you’re going through, I’ve seen it take its toll.
“She’s already resigned to dying. I just wish she wanted to fight.”
“Look, at this point, I consider myself more than your wife’s doctor, and, especially since we’re out here dropping crab pots together, I feel like I can safely call you my friend. And, as such, I’m telling you I think your wife is dying, but more importantly you need to know and never forget that anyone who survives two rounds of the type of chemo Liz did, much less the three rounds that she did is one hell of a fighter.”
“I know. Maybe I wish I could fight for her, I--I don’t want her to die.” I could feel my eyes getting hot, and a little blurry. I let the boat drift a good 30 yards before the next crab pot was dropped. And, as Dr. Chargaff helped me untangle the nylon rope connecting the pot to the float it dawned on me that I had never yet cried over my wife’s illness. “I think there may be a way to help her. I tried to talk to her about it a few nights ago. She didn’t really want to hear it, and, I don’t blame her. I just know that, only after I feel like every avenue has been explored, only then will I be able to accept that my wife may die.” I looked up from where I stood with both hands on the railing of my small fishing boat. Tears were now streaming down my face.
“What else can we do? There is nothing more, Ezra.”
I began to tell Dr. Chargaff about the neutrino microscope. I told him about the cancer in the mice that Bethany and I had been watching destroy cell after cell. “I’m thinking that, if you were to encourage her, perhaps I could get my wife into the lab, and we could get an idea of what, if anything we could do.”
“Ezra, all this could do is give you a courtside seat to your wife’s own self annihilation. What would this help?”
“Well, that is part of the reason I’m hoping you’ll be there with me. “ We’d thrown the last of the crab pots into the brine, its level that much higher from the addition of my tears. We headed towards the off-shore reef that lay a few miles to the north, where the Cabazon always bit.
“OK. I’ll talk to Liz tomorrow. But, I’m not gonna press her into doing anything she really doesn’t want to.”
Liz, being a Chemex fan herself, helped me set up the clamp that held the teapot above the Bunsen buner’s flame.
“Good morning, Mrs. Avigail,” said Bethany, “good to see you again.”
“Good to see you again, too, Beth. So, what do you think about this whole thing? Are you chomping at the bit, like my compassionate hubby here, to see my own body eat itself? Liz, even though she said this with a smile, was making her reluctance to being put under the microscope known, again, to all in attendance, which included only Dr. Chargaff, Bethany and me. It didn’t take long for the water to begin to boil, and soon we had our coffee.
Liz’s cancer initially started in her breast and, due to a tardy diagnosis had spread to her liver, certain bones, and most ominously her lymphatic system. And, because of her advanced stage of systemic cancer, there were micrometastaseslikely present throughout her body. Dr. Chargaff and I had decided that the lymph node tumor that sat in her neck represented the best location for first exploration. This was because it was the most dangerous in terms of imminent danger (if the tumor grew in a medial direction only a few more millimeters, it would begin to pinch the external jugular, effectively killing Liz) and long term spreading of the cancer. The neutrino microscope was the size of a commercial refrigerator, with an enclosure directly adjacent, within any “specimen” was to be placed. On the clear, metallic reinforced plexiglass of the enclosure there was a moniker, actually labeling itself a “specimen enclosure,” I hoped Liz wouldn’t notice it. I had spread a soft, familiar blanket across the cold steel of the bottom of the enclosure, hoping to provide her with some sort of comfort. The straps used to subdue a mouse, or any other subjects were taken out of the enclosure. I figured that Liz may not want to be rendered completely immobile, even if it may cause issues with the imaging.
Liz, after finishing her cup of coffee and cream cheese-less bagel climbed up and into the quadrangle. The only way she would fit was to curl into a fetal position. Bethany went to work positioning the lens into place over Liz’s neck, looking for the leading edge of the tumor.
“Beth, increase the resolution 100 fold, two clicks in reverse.” She had found the leading edge of the tumor. I wanted to see if we could get inside the cell and view the transcription machinery that I suspected was coding for the mitotic clones that comprised the tumor.
“What the--? Beth, another 100 fold magnification. Dr. Chargaff, did you see that?”
“Ezra, I hardly know what I’m looking at, much something that would be out of the ordinary. I’m not a research doctor, remember.” Beth must have seen it as well, because the large, high-definition monitor’s screen was now filled with images of distinctively humanoid figures, hundreds of them, walking and using their “arms” as any laborer would, disassembling and reorganizing the DNA within one of Elizavita’s cells.
“This is, uh, what you were talking about?” asked a stunned Dr. Chargaff.
I turned to face him with eyes wide open, mouth agape. “What resolution are we at now, Beth?”
“We’re just below 1nm resolution. You see what I’m seeing?” Beth had craned her head around the corner of the microscope’s housing. I returned her inquiry with a slow nod of the head. On the screen of the monitor, we watched in horrific fascination as the dark creatures of nanoscale finished packing the DNA back into their characteristic chromosomes, and pulled them to opposite ends of the nucleus and began the cell cycle of replication.
“Beth, reduce magnification to the level of an electron microscope.” I wanted to see what this looked like at a resolution that I had seen before. Watching the phases of the cell cycle in their familiar resolution, I saw nothing out of the ordinary. I got up, wiped the sweat from my brow, took a deep breath and stepped away from the screen. “We watched the mice at the same magnification. There were no scary critters rearranging their nucleotides.” Thinking out loud, I stood with my head back, my hands compressing my temples. Dr. Chargaff came over and put his hand on my shoulder.
“Let’s get Liz out of there, huh?”
My wife held on for a few more days. The entities that I had watched building one of Liz’s many tumors had been victorious. She passed away on our porch, in her favorite deck chair, with a pod of grew whales splashing far below.
Dr. Chargaff was the first one to eulogize Elizavita. As I sat in the veiled room for the family of the deceased, I had my arm around my grown daughter as she shook with powerful sobs. From my vantage point I could see the top half of Liz’s face, caked in burial make-up, with eyes closed. She wore the same wig that I had taken notice of so many weeks before. I’d been to funerals in the past, and heard the immediate family speak to how peaceful their loved one looked lying in the casket, with their lifeless face molded into a meaningless smile; often they’d remark upon how thankful they were for the last image of tranquility before final goodbyes. With dry eyes, I thought, what did it matter what Liz looked like lying in a casket? I took a strange, somewhat guilty solace that my daughter had tears enough for the both of us.
“Boy, if we get pots like we did last time, I don’t know what we’ll do with all the crabs.” Now that Dr. Chargaff knew his way around my fishing boat, it took very little time to get the crabbing pots untangled and into the gently rolling sea.
“Well, now that I’m retired, I have time to eat all the crab and fish I want.”
“How does that feel? To be retired?” Even though Dr. Chargaff was a decade plus my elder, he had no immediate plans for retirement.
“Well, I know my lab –er – the lab is in capable hands. Bethany has decided to tackle those DNA creatures as a full time project. All that attention might bring her out of her shell, anyway, not to mention a Nobel Prize. ”
“What do you think those things were, anyway?”
“I don’t know, but they really scared me. I mean, they aren’t built out of molecules and atoms…And, the weirdest part is that Beth couldn’t find anything like ‘em in any other mammals.” I baited both of our lines; as we were know drifting right over my favorite reef.
“So, are you saying they are, what, spiritual, or something?” Dr. Chargaff had already gotten tangled up with some kelp and had to snip his line. I let out a diaphragm stretching sigh, from the question and having to retie his line to a new set of sinks and hook. The direct line of questioning that I usually so enjoyed from the good doctor was inflaming an internal issue that I had yet to come to terms with. I felt that I was betraying Liz, in that I was not mourning as others thought I should be. Not only had I lost my wife, but in the process I had discovered, as a researcher, some mechanism, or force, or whatever it was that I didn’t want to know about; I wasn’t yet sure if I was more frightened by what we had found, or by the realization that there were things in this world I didn’t want to explore.
“I don’t know, and, I’m not sure I want to.” I replied over my shoulder, as I reeled in a lingcodwith its swim bladder protruding out of its mouth and eyes bulging near the point of bursting. “Must have drifted out into deeper water.” I clubbed the lingcod ‘til it stopped flapping around the boat.
 Hydromorphone, a more common synonym for dihydromorphinone hydrochloride (trade names Palladone IR, Palladone SR, Dilaudid and numerous others) is a potent centrally-acting analgesic drug of the opioid class; it is a derivative of morphine, specifically a hydrogenated ketone thereof—therefore a semi-synthetic drug and both an opiate and a true narcotic. Hydromorphone is somewhat faster-acting and about eight times stronger than morphine and about three times stronger than heroin on a milligram basis.
 The Chemex® coffeemaker is an elegant, one-piece, hourglass shaped vessel made of high quality, heat resistant glass. The traditional model comes with a polished wood collar and leather tie. The collar serves as an insulated handle around the middle of the coffeemaker. Its visual elegance has earned it a place in the permanent collection of New York's Museum located in Corning, New York. The Chemex® coffeemaker was also selected by the Illinois Institute of Technology as one of the 100 best designed products of modern times. The coffee only comes in contact with the scientifically designed filter and non-porous glass. With the Chemex® method, you can make coffee as strong as you like without bitterness. This merging of form and function came out of Chemist Peter Schlumbohm's taste for fine flavor. Applying the techniques used to insure laboratory purity, he set out to brew what may have been the first cup of truly, clear, full-bodied coffee - free of undesirable fats, oils, sediment and most of all...bitterness.
 An electron microscope is a type of microscope that uses electrons to illuminate a specimen and create an enlarged image. Electron microscopes have much greater resolving power than light microscopes and can obtain much higher magnifications. Some electron microscopes can magnify specimens up to 2 million times, while the best light microscopes are limited to magnifications of 2000 times. Both electron and light microscopes have resolution limitations, imposed by their wavelength. The greater resolution and magnification of the electron microscope is due to the wavelength of an electron, its de Broglie wavelength, being much smaller than that of a light photon, electromagnetic radiation. The electron microscope uses electrostatic and electromagnetic lenses in forming the image by controlling the electron beam to focus it at a specific plane relative to the specimen in a manner similar to how a light microscope uses glass lenses to focus light on or through a specimen to form an image.
 In vivo (Latin: within the living) means that which takes place inside an organism. In science, in vivo refers to experimentation done in or on the living tissue of a whole, living organism as opposed to a partial or dead one or a controlled environment. Animal testing and clinical trials are forms of in vivo research.
 epithelium is a tissue composed of cells that line the cavities and surfaces of structures throughout the body. Many glands are also formed from epithelial tissue. Epithelium lines both the outside (skin) and the inside cavities and lumen of bodies. The outermost layer of our skin is composed of dead stratified squamous, keratinized epithelial cells.
 The Borg are a fictional pseudo-race of cyborgs depicted in the Star Trek franchise. The Borg have become a symbol in popular culture for any juggernaut against whom "resistance is futile."The Borg are depicted as an amalgam of cybernetically enhanced humanoid drones of multiple species, organized as an inter-connected collective with a hive mind, inhabiting a vast region of space with many planets and ships. They operate towards one single-minded purpose: to add the biological and technological distinctiveness of other species to their own, in pursuit of perfection. This is achieved through forced assimilation, a process which transforms individuals and technology into Borg, enhancing individuals by adding synthetic components.
Apoptosis is a form of programmed cell death in multicellular organisms. It is one of the main types of programmed cell death (PCD) and involves a series of biochemical events leading to a characteristic cell morphology and death, in more specific terms, a series of biochemical events that lead to a variety of morphological changes, including blebbing, changes to the cell membrane such as loss of membrane asymmetry and attachment, cell shrinkage, nuclear fragmentation, chromatin condensation, and chromosomal DNA fragmentation. Processes of disposal of cellular debris whose results do not damage the organism differentiate apoptosis from necrosis. In contrast to necrosis, which is a form of traumatic cell death that results from acute cellular injury, apoptosis, in general, confers advantages during an organism's life cycle. For example, the differentiation of fingers and toes in a developing human embryo occurs because cells between the fingers apoptose; the result is that the digits are separate. Between 50 billion and 70 billion cells die each day due to apoptosis in the average human adult. For an average child between the ages of 8 and 14, approximately 20 billion to 30 billion cells die a day. In a year, this amounts to the proliferation and subsequent destruction of a mass of cells equal to an individual's body weight. Research on apoptosis has increased substantially since the early 1990s. In addition to its importance as a biological phenomenon, defective apoptotic processes have been implicated in an extensive variety of diseases. Excessive apoptosis causes hypotrophy, such as in ischemic damage, whereas an insufficient amount results in uncontrolled cell proliferation, such as cancer.
 The Tesla Roadster is a fully electric sports car. It is the first car produced by electric car firm Tesla Motors. The car can travel 244 miles (393 km) on a single charge of its lithium-ion battery pack and accelerate from 0–60 mph (0–97 km/h) in 3.9 seconds. The Roadster's efficiency, as of September, 2008, is reported as equivalent to 120 miles per US gallon (51 km/l/140 mpg-imp).
 The Sitka Spruce (Picea sitchensis) is a large coniferous evergreen tree growing to 50-70 m tall, exceptionally to 100 m tall, and with a trunk diameter of up to 5 m, exceptionally to 6-7 m diameter. It is by far the largest species of spruce, and the third tallest conifer species in the world (after Coast Redwood and Coast Douglas-fir). It acquires its name from the community of Sitka, Alaska.
 The Douglas-firs are medium-size to large or very large evergreen trees, to 20-120 m tall. The leaves are flat and needle-like, generally resembling those of the firs. The female cones are pendulous, with persistent scales (unlike true firs), and are distinct in having a long tridentine (three-pointed) bract that protrudes prominently above each scale.
 Gray whales occasionally hurl themselves out of the water and plunge back in with a tremendous splash. This is called a whale breach. Scientists do not know why gray whales do this, but it is very exciting sight to see. Sometimes other whales in the area will copy this behavior.
 Highland Park is undoubtedly one of the world’s great single malts, and expression of the Orcadian whisky received the prestigious accolade of being named ‘Best Spirit in the World’ by Paul Pacult in his Spirit Journal. The 30- year-old offers a mellow nose, with almonds, soft malt and a faint whiff of peat. Beautifully balanced on the palate, big bodied, honey and toffee, drying oak and satisfying spice notes linger long on the finish. A substantial, yet, elegant dram that has aged magnificently. 48.1% ABV. Dr. Avigail payed $375 for 1/5 of a gallon, which, is a reasonable price for this scotch.
 Brita is a German company that specializes in water filtration products. The company is the world's market leader in portable household water filtration. Brita products include water jugs, kettles and tap attachments, all of which use silver-impregnated activated carbon and ion-exchange resin as their primary filtering mechanism. The activated carbon used in Brita filters is produced from coconut shells. The company manufactures its pitchers from styrene methyl methacrylate copolymer.
 Depoe Bay is a city in Lincoln County, Oregon, United States. The population was 1,174 at the 2000 census. The 2007 estimate is 1,355 residents. The six acre (24,000 m²) harbor is the world's smallest, according to Guinness World Records. Depoe Bay was founded by Siletz Indian "Charley" Depot (whose name was later changed to "DePoe"). His original tribal affiliation was Tututni. In 1975, the fishing trip sequence in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest was filmed in Depoe Bay.
 Cabezon, Scorpaenichthys marmaratus: it may be confused with several lingcods, but is identified by the absence of scales on the body, the presence of a skin flap over each eye, and in the middle of the snout a blue mouth with the absence of large teeth. The Cabezon has a wide bulbous head with a large mouth that is covered with spines and fan-like pectoral fins. It has an elongated stout body. The Cabezon has the ability to change colors to adapt to the background but is generally mottled brown with males being red and the females green on the backs and sides gradating to pale below. It has a notch in the spinous dorsal fin after the third or fourth spine.
The Cabezon reaches a maximum size of 30 inches and 25 pounds and is found up to 300 feet deep in the water column over rocky reefs. The females produce 50,000 to 100,000 eggs per annum. The Cabezon is an important targeted sport fish being a strong foe on light tackle. It is good eating and historically was an important food substance for Native Americans. However, the roe should be discarded and considered highly toxic.
 Micrometastases are metastases (cancer spread) that are too small to be seen. If there are individual cells, or even small areas of growing cells elsewhere in the body, there is no scan that is detailed enough to spot them. However, with the imaging resolution available with neutrino microscopes, this may be possible and widely available to cancer patients.
 The lymphatic system in vertebrates is a network of conduits that carry a clear fluid called lymph. It also includes the lymphoid tissue through which the lymph travels. Lymphoid tissue is found in many organs, particularly the lymph nodes, and in the lymphoid follicles associated with the digestive system such as the tonsils. The system also includes all the structures dedicated to the circulation and production of lymphocytes, which includes the spleen, thymus, bone marrow and the lymphoid tissue associated with the digestive system. The dissolved constituents of the blood do not directly come in contact with the cells and tissues in the body, but first enter the interstitial fluid, and then the cells of the body. Lymph is the fluid that is formed when interstitial fluid enters the conduits of the lymphatic system. The lymph is not pumped through the body like blood, it is moved mostly by the contractions of skeletal muscles. The lymphatic system has three interrelated functions. It is responsible for the removal of interstitial fluid from tissues. It absorbs and transports fatty acids and fats as chyle to the circulatory system. The last function of the lymphatic system is the transport of antigen presenting cells (APCs), such as dendritic cells, to the lymph nodes where an immune response is stimulated.
 Transcription - Protein synthesis starts in the nucleus, where the DNA is held. DNA structure is two chains of sugars and phosphates joined by pairs of nucleic acids; Adenine, Guanine, Cytosine, and Thymine. Similar to DNA replication, the DNA is "unzipped" by the enzyme helicase, leaving the single nucleotide chain open to be copied. RNA polymerase reads the DNA strand, and synthesizes a single strand of messenger RNA (mRNA). This single strand of mRNA leaves the nucleus through nuclear pores, and migrates into the cytoplasm where it joins with ribosomes, where protein synthesis occurs by the formation of amino acids.
 Mitosis is the process in which a eukaryotic cell separates the chromosomes in its cell nucleus, into two identical sets in two daughter nuclei. It is generally followed immediately by cytokinesis, which divides the nuclei, cytoplasm, organelles and cell membrane into two daughter cells containing roughly equal shares of these cellular components. Mitosis and cytokinesis together define the mitotic (M) phase of the cell cycle - the division of the mother cell into two daughter cells, genetically identical to each other and to their parent cell, which can be called mitotic clones.
 A nanometer is a unit of length in the metric system, equal to one billionth of a meter, or, one millionth of a millimeter.
 Nucleotides are organic compounds that consist of three joined structures: a nitrogenous base, a sugar, and a phosphate group. The most common nucleotides can be divided into two groups (purines and pyrimidines) based on the structure of the nitrogenous base. The joined sugar is either ribose or deoxyribose. Nucleotides are the structural units of RNA and DNA. They also serve as important cofactors in cellular signaling and metabolism. These cofactors include CoA, flavin adenine dinucleotide, flavin mononucleotide, adenosine triphosphate and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate.
 The lingcod, Ophiodon elongatus, is a fish of the greenling family Hexagrammidae. It is the only member of the genus Ophiodon. It is native to the North American west coast from Shumagin Islands in the Gulf of Alaska to Baja California, Mexico. It has been observed up to a size of 152 cm and a weight of 59 kg. It is spotted in various shades of grey. The lingcod is a popular eating fish, and is thus prized by anglers. Though not closely related to either ling or cod, the name lingcod originated because it somewhat resembles those fish.
 The gas bladder is a gas-filled sac located in the dorsal portion of the fish. It has flexible walls that contract or expand according to the ambient pressure. The walls of the bladder contain very few blood vessels and are lined with guanine crystals, which make them impermeable to gases. In physostomous gas bladders, a connection is retained between the gas bladder and the gut, allowing the fish to fill up the gas bladder by "gulping" air and filling the gas bladder through the pneumatic duct. In more derived varieties of fish, the bladder has a gas gland that can introduce gases (usually oxygen) to the bladder to increase its volume and thus increase buoyancy. To reduce buoyancy, gases are released from the bladder into the blood stream and then expelled into the water via the gills. In order to introduce gas into the bladder, the gas gland excretes lactic acid; the resulting acidity causes the hemoglobin of the blood to lose its oxygen, which then diffuses into the bladder while flowing through a complex structure known as the rete mirabile. Elsewhere, at a similar structure known as the oval window, the bladder is in contact with blood and the oxygen can diffuse back.