Ageing and cancer: The telomere and telomerase connection

Jerry W. Shay, Woodring E. Wright

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

30 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Telomeres are repetitive DNA sequences at the ends of linear chromosomes. Telomerase, a cellular reverse transcriptase, helps stabilize telomere length in human stem, reproductive and cancer cells by adding TTAGGG repeats onto the telomeres. Each time a telomerase-negative cell divides some telomeric sequences are lost. When telomeres are short, cells enter an irreversible growth arrest state called replicative senescence. In most instances cells become senescent before they can become cancerous, thus the growth arrest induced by short telomeres may be a potent anti-cancer mechanism. Since most cancers express telomerase, maintenance of telomere stability is likely to be required for the long-term viability of tumours. Inhibition of telomerase results in gradual erosion of telomeres followed by cessation of proliferation or apoptosis, and thus may be a promising target for cancer therapy. Introduction of the telomerase catalytic protein component into telomerase-silent cells is sufficient to restore telomerase activity and extend cellular life span. However, cells with introduced telomerase are not cancer cells since they have not accumulated the other changes needed to become cancerous. This indicates that telomerase-induced telomere length manipulations may have utility for tissue engineering and for dissecting the molecular mechanisms underlying genetic diseases including cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNovartis Foundation Symposium
Pages116-129
Number of pages14
Volume235
StatePublished - 2001

Publication series

NameNovartis Foundation Symposium
Volume235

Fingerprint

Telomerase
Telomere
Neoplasms
Inborn Genetic Diseases
Neoplastic Stem Cells
Nucleic Acid Repetitive Sequences
Cell Aging
RNA-Directed DNA Polymerase
Tissue Engineering
Growth
Chromosomes
Maintenance
Apoptosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Shay, J. W., & Wright, W. E. (2001). Ageing and cancer: The telomere and telomerase connection. In Novartis Foundation Symposium (Vol. 235, pp. 116-129). (Novartis Foundation Symposium; Vol. 235).

Ageing and cancer : The telomere and telomerase connection. / Shay, Jerry W.; Wright, Woodring E.

Novartis Foundation Symposium. Vol. 235 2001. p. 116-129 (Novartis Foundation Symposium; Vol. 235).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Shay, JW & Wright, WE 2001, Ageing and cancer: The telomere and telomerase connection. in Novartis Foundation Symposium. vol. 235, Novartis Foundation Symposium, vol. 235, pp. 116-129.
Shay JW, Wright WE. Ageing and cancer: The telomere and telomerase connection. In Novartis Foundation Symposium. Vol. 235. 2001. p. 116-129. (Novartis Foundation Symposium).
Shay, Jerry W. ; Wright, Woodring E. / Ageing and cancer : The telomere and telomerase connection. Novartis Foundation Symposium. Vol. 235 2001. pp. 116-129 (Novartis Foundation Symposium).
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