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Lancet. 2003 Sep 20;362(9388):983-8.

Telomere maintenance and disease.

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Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California at Berkeley, 401 Barker Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720-3204, USA.


The proliferative capacity of human cells is regulated by telomerase, an enzyme uniquely specialised for telomeric DNA synthesis. The critical role of telomerase activation in tumour progression and tumour maintenance has been well established in studies of cancer and of oncogenic transformation in cell culture. New evidence suggests that telomerase activation has an important role in normal somatic cells, and that failure to activate sufficient telomerase also promotes disease. We review the evidence for premature telomere attrition in proliferative deficiencies of the human haemopoietic system, and discuss the potential use of telomerase activation in telomere-restorative gene therapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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