Pharmaceutical regulation of telomerase and its clinical potential

Alyssa A. Sprouse, Catherine E. Steding, Brittney Shea Herbert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Telomeres serve the dual function of protecting chromosomes from genomic instability as well as protecting the ends of chromosomes from DNA damage machinery. The enzyme responsible for telomere maintenance is telomerase, an enzyme capable of reverse transcription. Telomerase activity is typically limited to specific cell types. However, telomerase activation in somatic cells serves as a key step toward cell immortalization and cancer. Targeting telomerase serves as a potential cancer treatment with significant therapeutic benefits. Beyond targeting cancers by inhibiting telomerase, manipulating the regulation of telomerase may also provide therapeutic benefit to other ailments, such as those related to aging. This review will introduce human telomeres and telomerase and discuss pharmacological regulation of telomerase, including telomerase inhibitors and activators, and their use in human diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012


  • Inhibitors
  • Natural compounds
  • Pharmacological activators
  • Telomerase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Medicine

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