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Crit Rev Oncol Hematol. 2006 Mar;57(3):191-214.

Telomeres and telomerase as targets for anticancer drug development.

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  • 1Laboratory of Radiobiology and Oncology, DSV/DRR/LRO, CEA, Fontenay aux Roses, France.

Abstract

In most human cancers, the telomere erosion problem has been bypassed through the activation of a telomere maintenance system (usually activation of telomerase). Therefore, telomere and telomerase are attractive targets for anti-cancer therapeutic interventions. Here, we review a large panel of strategies that have been explored to date, from small inhibitors of the catalytic sub-unit of telomerase to anti-telomerase immunotherapy and gene therapy. The many positive results that are reported from anti-telomere/telomerase assays suggest a prudent optimism for a possible clinical application in a close future. However, we discuss some of the main limits for these approaches of antitumour drug development and why significant work remains before a clinically useful drug can be proposed to patients.

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