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J Control Release. 2010 Sep 1;146(2):228-40. doi: 10.1016/j.jconrel.2010.03.025. Epub 2010 Apr 8.

Telomerase as an emerging target to fight cancer--opportunities and challenges for nanomedicine.

Author information

1
Department of Biopharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Technology, Saarland University, Saarbr├╝cken, Germany.

Abstract

Telomerase as an enzyme is responsible for the renewal of the chromosomal ends, the so-called telomeres. By preventing them from shortening with each cell cycle, telomerase is able to inhibit cellular senescence and apoptosis. Telomerase activity, which is detectable in the majority of cancer cells, allows them to maintain their proliferative capacity. The thus obtained immortality of those cells again is a key to their malignancy. Based on these discoveries, it is obvious that telomerase inhibitors would represent an innovative approach to fight cancer, and a variety of such candidate molecules are currently in the pipeline. Telomerase inhibitors largely fall in two classes of compounds: small synthetic molecules and nucleotide-based biologicals. For several candidates, some proof of concept studies have been demonstrated, either on cell cultures or in animal models. But the same studies also revealed that inefficient delivery is largely limiting the translational step into the clinic. The most appealing feature of telomerase inhibitors, which distinguishes them from conventional anticancer drugs, is probably seen in their intrinsic non-toxicity to normal cells. Nevertheless, efficient delivery to the target cells, i.e. to the tumor, is still required. Here, some well-known biopharmaceutical problems such as insufficient solubility, permeability or even metabolic stability are frequently encountered. To address these challenges, there is a clear need for adequate delivery technologies, for example by using nanomedicines, that would allow to overcome their biopharmaceutical shortcomings and to warrant a sufficient bioavailability at the target side. This review first briefly explains the concept of telomerase and telomerase inhibition in cancer therapy. It secondly aims to provide an overview of the different currently known telomerase inhibitors. Finally, the biopharmaceutical limitations of these molecules are discussed as well as the possibilities to overcome those limits by novel drug carrier systems and formulation approaches.

PMID:
20381558
DOI:
10.1016/j.jconrel.2010.03.025
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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