Saturday, January 30, 2010

Spy vs Spy

Caricatures from the MAD magazine.

The hazy gaze of the slippery snake affixed on its prey as it moves with slithering stealth to accomplish its goal to retrieve survival rations. The forked tongue measuring the chemical balance while the thermal imagery scans the heat and distance from the prey. It is the means to an end. It is survival. Yet in its most lucrative sense the display of predator and prey is a dance of life. The weak and meek run and hide in elaborate places of refuge throwing confusion and dust to the many talents of the reptilian foe. Some morph with the surroundings while others change color and still others reduce their thermal heat. Nature is in full blossom all the time with a thrill-a-moment in every moment. Not every moment however belongs to the predator either.

The King Cobra.

As the Cobra in its imperial stance gobbles the prey it becomes a prey in itself because of all the digestive processes in play in so doing it raises it’s own temperature by 1 degree Celsius. Ah yes the wonders of nature stair chasing up and down the food chain. So what constitutes the predator or as a matter of fact the prey is relative. All is a matter of survival. The stealth of one is the misfortune for another. The herbivores deplete the leaves and foliage laying bare the branches to the brown barrenness while the carnivores chase down the next lower rung on the animal/mammal train and catch, kill and eat to survive. Yet there is some very elegant mimicry used in the animal and plant kingdom to preserve their kind. Some trees will release a poison
The Yew Tree - Berries and plant causes fatality to humans and animals.

to ward off the locusts while some fish will change color and merge with the underwater terrain to cloak against the predator. Sometimes the predator uses the same cloaking devise to “fool” the prey like the “Klingons” before they attack the “Enterprise”. These are the banalities of nature all in broad display for the intellect of the mind. Stealthy as a spy, life survives one moment at a time.

As all morphing, cloaking and mimicry is available to the animal and plant kingdoms it is also available to the human cell - the very foundation of the human species. The cell has a wide array of capabilities that would amuse and embarrass the most artful criminal or perceptive detective. It is a wunderkind in its own right. This minimalist, this totalitarian, this contained, this city of function, self preserving and self replicating piece of machinery is also the beneficiary of the  “cloak and dagger” non-fiction award. The cell will ingest and process and then liberate materials to pass information to others. It will morph and sometimes cloak to hide its plan of attack against an enemy (ie. Bacteria, viruses). It will also sometimes float its own boat through the generational channel of the placental divide to signal to the future generation of the potential of alarm and harm and sometimes create that chaos on the new found shores of inhabitance.
The photomicrographs illustrate the ingested dead material in the bottom two frames with normal frames on top.

The summer perihelion sun had crested across the Tropic of Cancer and the northern hemisphere was found gazing at the beautiful display of the fall colors. As the sap of life was choked out from the leaves and they lost the virtue of oxygenating the planet, a woman in her late twenties unbeknownst to her lay tormented from the acts of self-destruction. The outside world envious at the dramatic change knew little or paid no heed to this person as each organized functional cell fought to survive whilst each protective immune laden cell sought to destroy. This was anarchy, a revolution, a mutiny all combined in one. While this war raged inside with chaos, riots and commotion in this person, the outside world showed little damage except for a rash of rashes and a slew of complaints of “Rheumatism”.

“Smart woman,” He said.

“How so?”

“Well her questions besides the obvious were poignant. For instance one of the first ones was, did it have anything to do with the pregnancy?” He waited for the impact.

“And the answer was less than obvious?”

“Oh no, I went into detail with her. I told her the theory about a hard labor could force the cells from traveling back and forth across the placental vessels and populate the blood stream of the mother or the child. The fact that more than a few dozen cells of the harvested cells from the peripheral blood can evoke an immune response against the ‘non-self’ cells which can start the cascade the symptom complex of the Lupus like syndromes.”

The cellular interaction after the cell dies and the potentialities.

“Its still a theory though?”

“Yes but points heavily towards some reason. It is equally as much within reason as the virus theory and the immune response or the bacterial and parasitic theory and the immune response. All these immune responses are a result of some assault on the human body. The mother as this one noticed the symptoms after the pregnancy and some children early in their youth develop the syndromes of the collagen vascular disease.”
The Lupus Band Test where immune cells try to destroy the skin cells.

“I see your point there. However the concept is unproven thus far and there are other proposed causes.”

"Yes there is the necrotic cell clearance issue with the dead cells presenting their antigens to the Immune cells and the clearance of the CD44 by the dead cells. But the pathogenesis that makes a lot of sense may be a combination of all three possibilities."

“Maybe the direct cause and effect is difficult to prove but we have some ancillary data.”

“What’s that?”

“Now that the DNA probes are common, they had a 25 year-old woman diagnosed with acute leukemia and after a few weeks her new born came down with the same leukemia. The leukemia cell was identified through genomic sampling to be the exact same kind as the mother”.

“Interesting but deadly unless we get a handle on how to turn off the leukemia switch.”

“We are well on our way in doing that. It’s a matter of time when that circuit breaker will be tripped.”

“I hope soon.”

‘We all do.”

Transference of viable information via open or surreptitious conduits has long been the premise of espionage. Most time the battle lines are drawn between counterintelligence. Sometimes however the spy for some lucrative self-serving need will give off his own national secrets as Robert Phillip Hanssen 
Robert Philip Hanssen - Soviet Spy - Convicted for Treason.

did to the Soviet Union over 22 years and finally as all unreasonable things find the balance of reason he was arrested in 2001 at a drop site in the park, 
Ellis Drop Site.

and now serves a life term in prison. Similarly the cell from one body’s domain filters through surreptitiously uncloaked or cloaked and escapes the machinery of the non-self recognition. Once in the blood stream it finds a niche in some dark, obscure corner of the marrow where emboldened by what is sees, it picks up secrets from the normal cells of the paternal or the offspring’s body of how to go about parading itself in the highways and byways of this new vascular empire. From then it is just a matter of division and creation from one, the many.

Life is a complex trial between unimpeded growth and the fight for survival. The victory belongs to the astute, the ready and the fighters. Relenting a smidgen is allowance to travel prematurely to the undiscovered country. The battle lines have been drawn for ages and as man has fought through the infectious causes successfully, the war remains far from over. The viruses and bacteria mutate at a faster rate than do humans for survival. Self-propagating cells vertically through generations may be an attempt in that direction by the body to promote protection to the progeny. That is a self-serving fiction since the facts belie different reality so far. Yet we heed Shakespeare’s lament:
“And now may seem as wise as virtuous by spying and avoiding fortunes malice.” Henry VI Part 3, Act IV

No comments:

Post a Comment