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Cancer blog: Groovy Protein And Cancer

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Feb 13, 2006

Groovy Protein And Cancer

Groovy Protein And Cancer
Image credit and copyright: Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Scientists have determined the detailed structure of an essential piece of the telomerase enzyme, an important contributor to the vast majority of human cancers. Understanding the physical shape of the protein has led to a better understanding of how it acts to immortalize cells - and should help scientists design broadly effective cancer drugs.

Until now, the lack of detailed structural information about the enzyme has hindered progress in developing agents to inhibit it, say the researchers, who published their findings in an advance online publication in Nature Structural and Molecular Biology on February 5, 2006. Howard Hughes Medical Institute President Thomas R. Cech, whose laboratory is at the University of Colorado at Boulder, led the study, conducted with colleagues Steven A. Jacobs and Elaine R. Podell.

Cancer researchers have long sought a way to subdue telomerase, an enzyme whose excessive activity contributes to the unchecked growth of as many as 90 percent of human tumors. The enzyme is vital for some rapidly dividing cells - such as those in a developing embryo - where it extends telomeres, the regions of highly repetitive DNA found at the ends of chromosomes. In most healthy adult cells, telomerase is shut off, and telomeres slowly shrink during cell division - a normal process that helps limit cells' lifespan. Cancer cells, however, usually find a way to turn telomerase back on, achieving a dangerous immortality.

Source: Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Janet      



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Janet      


Cancer
Cancer is a very common disease, approximately one out of every two American men and one out of every three American women will have some type of cancer at some point during the course of their life. Cancer is more common in the elderly and 77 percent of cancers occur in people above age 55 or older. Cancer is also common in children. Cancer incidence is said to have two peaks once during early childhood and then during late years in life. No age period is completely exempted from development of cancers. Some cancers occur predominantly in the elderly, other types occur in children, Cancer occurs in all ethnic races, however the cancer rates and rates of specific cancer types may vary from group to group. Late stages of cancer may be incurable in most cases, but with the advancement of medicine, more and more cancers are becoming curable.

Cancer blog: Groovy Protein And Cancer

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