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Mutat Res. 2012 Feb 1;730(1-2):90-7. doi: 10.1016/j.mrfmmm.2011.07.006. Epub 2011 Jul 23.

Is telomerase a viable target in cancer?

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1
The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Department of Cell Biology, Dallas, TX 75390-9039, USA.

Abstract

The ideal cancer treatment would specifically target cancer cells yet have minimal or no adverse effects on normal somatic cells. Telomerase, the ribonucleoprotein reverse transcriptase that maintains the ends of human chromosome, is an attractive cancer therapeutic target for exactly this reason [1]. Telomerase is expressed in more than 85% of cancer cells, making it a nearly universal cancer marker, while the majority of normal somatic cells are telomerase negative. Telomerase activity confers limitless replicative potential to cancer cells, a hallmark of cancer which must be attained for the continued growth that characterizes almost all advanced neoplasms [2]. In this review we will summarize the role of telomeres and telomerase in cancer cells, and how properties of telomerase are being exploited to create targeted cancer therapies including telomerase inhibitors, telomerase-targeted immunotherapies and telomerase-driven virotherapies. A frank and balanced assessment of the current state of telomerase inhibitors with caveats and potential limitations will be included.

PMID:
21802433
PMCID:
PMC3375693
DOI:
10.1016/j.mrfmmm.2011.07.006
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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