Tackling Cancer at the Telomeres

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Science  29 Mar 2002:
Vol. 295, Issue 5564, pp. 2350
DOI: 10.1126/science.295.5564.2350

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Findings about how the end bits of chromosomes, called telomeres, are maintained may point the way to new therapies to fight cancer. One of many discoveries about telomeres over the past few decades (see main text) is that telomerase, the enzyme that synthesizes the telomere DNA, helps drive the growth of cancer cells. Because telomerase is not present in most normal cells, the enzyme could be an attractive target for therapies aimed at halting tumor growth.