Science Webinar Series

Targeting Telomeres in Human Disease: Advances and Therapeutic Opportunities

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Science  25 Apr 2014:
Vol. 344, Issue 6182, pp. 431
DOI: 10.1126/science.344.6182.431-c

Summary

The maintenance of telomeres—the structures of repetitive sequences as the end of a chromatid—is essential to the health of a cell. Dysfunction in telomere maintenance pathways plays an integral role in aging, cancer, and certain rare diseases such as dyskeratosis congenita (DC). The molecular analysis of telomere length, telomerase levels, and activation of the Alternative Lengthening of Telomeres (ALT) pathway are currently being used as prognostic tools in human diseases. This has led to telomere maintenance as a prime target for patient therapies. Studies have shown the modification of TERC (TElomerase RNA Component) expression may be therapeutically beneficial in DC patients. Additionally, current research is targeting telomere lengthening mechanisms as a cancer therapy. In this webinar, our experts will describe the advances in telomere research as it applies to human health and how deeper characterization of the telomerase maintenance process can uncover targets for therapies.