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Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2002 May;1(5):383-93.

Telomere maintenance as a target for anticancer drug discovery.

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CRC Biomolecular Structure Unit, Chester Beatty Laboratories, The Institute of Cancer Research, 237 Fulham Road, London SW3 6JB, UK.


Maintenance of telomeres--specialized complexes that protect the ends of chromosomes--is undertaken by the enzyme complex telomerase, which is a key factor that is activated in more than 80% of cancer cells that have been examined so far, but is absent in most normal cells. So, targeting telomere-maintenance mechanisms could potentially half tumour growth across a broad spectrum of tumour types, with little cytotoxic effect outside tumours. Here, we describe the current understanding of telomere biology, and the application of this knowledge to the development of anticancer drugs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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