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Telomerase Inhibition and Cancer: Might Platinum Based Drugs have a Future as Anti-telomerase Pharmacological Approach?

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Telomerase is a ribonucleoprotein polymerase that maintains the length of telomeric DNA by adding hexameric units (TTAGGG) to the ends of the chromosomes. This mechanism prevents replicative senescence, thus conferring unlimited proliferative potential to cells. Telomerase reactivation has been detected in most human tumour tissue, indicating that the enzyme may be useful as a specific tumour marker. The inhibition of telomerase causes a progressive and critical reduction of telomeres, leading to a potent signal for the blockage of cell proliferation and the induction of apoptosis. Since normal somatic cells lack telomerase activity, the anti-telomerase approach is highly specific for tumour cells and metastases. Prolonged treatment is required before enzyme deactivation causes the telomeres to be shortened enough to induce senescence and apoptosis. Therefore, the drugs employed in anti-telomerase therapy should be of only moderate non-specific cytotoxicity. Certain cis-Pt(II)-complexes have recently been shown to be effective inhibitors of telomerase in both cell-free and in vitro assays, most likely by targeting the nucleobases of the RNA component of the enzyme.

Keywords: Telomerase; antiproliferative agents; platinum(II) complexes; telomere

Document Type: Review Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2174/092986705774933416

Affiliations: Dipartimento di Scienze dell'Ambiente e della Vita, Universita degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale "A. Avogadro", Spalto Marengo 33, I-15100, Alessandria, Italy.

Publication date: December 1, 2005

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  • Current Medicinal Chemistry covers all the latest and outstanding developments in medicinal chemistry and rational drug design. Each issue contains a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of the current topics in medicinal chemistry. Current Medicinal Chemistry is an essential journal for every medicinal chemist who wishes to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments.
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