The enzyme telomerase has a key role in controlling the lifespan of human cells. It is absent from most somatic tissues but is reactivated in more than 85% of cancers, making the enzyme ideal as a marker of cancer cells and as a therapeutic target. In the context of normal human cells, the enzyme can extend cellular lifespan without causing cancer-associated changes or altering phenotypic properties. This capability could solve a major obstacle in the use of normal human cells for tissue engineering, that is, the induction of cellular senescence.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Drug Discovery