Telomerase – future drug target enzyme?

  • Tomaž Langerholc


Eucaryotic chromosome endings (telomeres) replication problem was solved in the 1980’s by discovery of the telomerase enzyme. The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded in 2009 for the discovery of telomerase. Altered telomerase expression in cancer, and human dream of eternal youth have accelerated the development of pharmacological telomerase inhibitors and activators. However, after 15 years of development they are still not available on the market. In the present article we reviewed pharmacological agents that target telomerase activity, which have entered clinical trials. Current drugs in development are mostly not intended to be used alone, as telomerase inhibitors under clinical trials are used in combination with the existing chemotherapeutics and anti-telomerase vaccines in combination with immuno-stimulants. Apart from cancer and aging, there are other diseases linked to deregulated activity of telomerase/telomeres and we also discuss technical and legal problems that researchers encounter in developing anti-telomerase therapy. Given the pace of development, first anti-telomerase drugs might appear on the market in the next 5 years.


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How to Cite
Langerholc T. Telomerase – future drug target enzyme?. ZdravVestn [Internet]. 1Jun.2012 [cited 30Mar.2020];81(6). Available from: