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Pharmaceutical regulation of telomerase and its clinical potential

Alyssa A. Sprouse; Catherine E. Steding; Brittney-Shea Herbert

(Profiled Author: Brittney-Shea Herbert)

Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine. 2012;16(1):1-7.


Telomeres serve the dual function of protecting chromosomes from genomic instability as well as protecting the ends of chromosomes from DNA damage machinery. The enzyme responsible for telomere maintenance is telomerase, an enzyme capable of reverse transcription. Telomerase activity is typically limited to specific cell types. However, telomerase activation in somatic cells serves as a key step toward cell immortalization and cancer. Targeting telomerase serves as a potential cancer treatment with significant therapeutic benefits. Beyond targeting cancers by inhibiting telomerase, manipulating the regulation of telomerase may also provide therapeutic benefit to other ailments, such as those related to aging. This review will introduce human telomeres and telomerase and discuss pharmacological regulation of telomerase, including telomerase inhibitors and activators, and their use in human diseases. © 2011 The Authors Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine © 2011 Foundation for Cellular and Molecular Medicine/Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

PMID: 21973217     PMCID: PMC3251731    

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