Josh L. Stern Assistant professor, University of Alabama, Birmingham

Josh L. Stern Assistant professor, University of Alabama, Birmingham

Josh L. Stern Assistant professor, University of Alabama, Birmingham Josh L. Stern Assistant professor, University of Alabama, Birmingham
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How targeting telomerase may treat cancer

Many cancer therapies involve some form of tumor-burden reduction (e.g. extirpative surgery). However, a major challenge to achieving durable patient responses is the re-growth of the original tumor. Such recurrence entails a large number of new cellular divisions, during which time these tumors must maintain their telomeres. At this point tumors may be most vulnerable to an adjuvant strategy targeting telomerase. Effectively hindering telomere length maintenance at this stage appears to lead to improved outcomes in xenograft models and patient studies. Therefore, understanding the basic biology of telomerase expression and function may reveal new therapeutic angles.


  

1. Jafri et al. (2016) Genome Med. 2016 Jun 20;8(1):69. Roles of telomeres and telomerase in cancer, and advances in telomerase-targeted therapies. 


2. Koziel et al. (2015) Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2015 Feb;149(3):607-18. The telomerase inhibitor imetelstat alone, and in combination with trastuzumab, decreases the cancer stem cell population and self-renewal of HER2+ breast cancer cells.


3. Wang S et al. (2017) Nucleic Acids Res. Aug 21;45(14):8403-8410. BRD4 inhibitors block telomere elongation.


4. Zhang et al. (2018) Clin Cancer Res. 2018 Mar 21. Induction of Telomere Dysfunction Prolongs Disease Control of Therapy-Resistant Melanoma.