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Genes 2016, 7(8), 43;

Telomerase: The Devil Inside

Department of Urology, Ulm University, 89081 Ulm, Germany
Department of Internal Medicine I, Ulm University, 89081 Ulm, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Gabriele Saretzki
Received: 25 May 2016 / Revised: 23 July 2016 / Accepted: 25 July 2016 / Published: 29 July 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Telomerase Activity in Human Cells)
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High telomerase activity is detected in nearly all human cancers but most human cells are devoid of telomerase activity. There is well-documented evidence that reactivation of telomerase occurs during cellular transformation. In humans, tumors can rely in reactivation of telomerase or originate in a telomerase positive stem/progenitor cell, or rely in alternative lengthening of telomeres, a telomerase-independent telomere-length maintenance mechanism. In this review, we will focus on the telomerase positive tumors. In this context, the recent findings that telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) promoter mutations represent the most common non-coding mutations in human cancer have flared up the long-standing discussion whether cancer originates from telomerase positive stem cells or telomerase reactivation is a final step in cellular transformation. Here, we will discuss the pros and cons of both concepts in the context of telomere length-dependent and telomere length-independent functions of telomerase. Together, these observations may provoke a re-evaluation of telomere and telomerase based therapies, both in telomerase inhibition for cancer therapy and telomerase activation for tissue regeneration and anti-ageing strategies. View Full-Text
Keywords: telomerase; telomere; cancer; stem cells telomerase; telomere; cancer; stem cells

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Kumar, M.; Lechel, A.; Güneş, Ç. Telomerase: The Devil Inside. Genes 2016, 7, 43.

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