Agents that target telomerase and telomeres

Curr Opin Biotechnol. 1996 Dec;7(6):583-91. doi: 10.1016/s0958-1669(96)80068-1.


Telomeres are guanine-rich regions that are located at the ends of chromosomes and are essential for preventing aberrant recombination and protecting against exonucleolytic DNA degradation. Telomeres are maintained by telomerase, an RNA-dependent DNA polymerase. Because telomerase is known to be expressed in tumor cells, which concurrently have short telomeres, and not in most somatic cells, which usually have long telomeres, telomerase and telomere structures have been recently proposed as attractive targets for the discovery of new anticancer agents. The most exciting current strategies are aimed at specifically designing new drugs that target telomerase or telomeres and new models have been formulated to study the biological effects of inhibitors of telomerase and telomeres both in vitro and in vivo.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / chemistry*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Drug Design*
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / chemistry
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Models, Molecular
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • Nucleoproteins / drug effects
  • Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors / chemistry
  • Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Telomerase / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Telomerase / genetics
  • Telomerase / metabolism
  • Telomere / chemistry
  • Telomere / drug effects*
  • Telomere / genetics


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Nucleoproteins
  • Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors
  • Telomerase