Researchers have attempted for more than a decade to find drugs that shut down telomerase — widely considered the No. 1 target for the development of new cancer treatments — but have been hampered in large part by a lack of knowledge of the enzyme's structure.
The findings, published online August 31 in Nature, should help researchers in their efforts to design effective telomerase inhibitors, says Emmanuel Skordalakes, Ph.D., assistant professor in Wistar's Gene Expression and Regulation Program, who led the study.
"Telomerase is an ideal target for chemotherapy because it is active in almost all human tumors, but inactive in most normal cells," Skordalakes says. "That means a drug that deactivates telomerase would likely work against all cancers, with few side effects."
Reference: Telomerase-Cortisol Connection
Reference: Neu5Ac And Neu5Gc