Dr. Edward Nelson, chief of hematology/oncology at UC Irvine Medical Center, participated in an April 3 press conference with 2009 Nobel Prize for Physiology & Medicine winner Elizabeth Blackburn at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research. Nelson discussed his research on accelerated telomere shortening caused by chronic stress. Just as aglets prevent a shoelace from unraveling or fraying, telomeres are structures on the ends of chromosomes that protect them from deteriorating, breaking apart or joining with other chromosomes – which can lead to mutations. Nelson’s study, conducted with UCI’s Lari Wenzel and Kelly Biegler, looked at people who experienced chronic stress due to cancer diagnosis/treatment and who received psychosocial counseling to improve their coping abilities. A decrease in the stress response was found to be significantly associated with an increase in telomere length. Blackburn is president of AACR; the group’s yearly convention runs April 2-6 in Orlando, Fla.