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Hats off to Elizabeth Blackburn, Carol Greider and Jack Szostak, the three American scientists awarded the 2009 Nobel Prize in medicine yesterday. Their cell research demonstrates that we're on the cusp of an era of medical innovation that could radically improve lives and life spans, if government lets it blossom.

The trio was honored for discovering how chromosomes act to protect themselves from degrading when cells divide by using an enzyme called telomerase. Subsequent studies have found that telomerase is closely tied to aging and human cancers, and work on the enzyme has become a popular area of drug research. Their discoveries "have added a new dimension to our understanding of the cell, shed light on disease mechanisms, and stimulated the development of potential new therapies," said the prize committee.

WSJ: A Nobel for American Medicine