Scientists find enzyme to slow cancer growthBMJ 1994; 308 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.308.6936.1057 (Published 23 April 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;308:1057
- J Roberts
Scientists have announced the discovery of an enzyme that allows cells to replicate indefinitely. But the discovery is being touted not as a fountain of youth but as a new approach to cancer therapy.
The enzyme is telomerase, which is present in one celled organisms and in sperm cells. It works by blocking cleavage of DNA telomeres, the ends of DNA chains that, in normal somatic cells, grow shorter with each cell division. Basic researchers in aging have speculated that cells cease dividing when telomeres become nearly depleted - typically after 50-200 cell …