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Pathol Oncol Res. 2001;7(3):161-70.

Telomerase: biological function and potential role in cancer management.

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Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary.


Telomeres are the specialized ends of eukaryotic chromosomes, thought to have many functions, most importantly serving as a clock signaling entry into cellular senescence. These structures are maintained by the reverse transcriptase telomerase, a peculiar enzyme in both structure, since it contains its own template RNA and function, since it is inactivated in most normal tissues but activated in the vast majority of malignant tumors. These features have made telomerase a subject of intense investigation, both to understand its cellular role and regulation and to exploit its activation in cancer to develop drugs or diagnostic methods based on telomerase. This work gathers all the information currently available in the biological and clinical fields of telomerase research.

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