Saturday, October 10, 2009

Telomerase & Telomerase inhibition.......

When I read about the Nobel prize in Medicine, was really excited because the scientists who discovered the enzyme telomerase got the Nobel prize for the year 2009 and the reason for this is simple and obvious....

When I was working with my previous company (Innovasynth Technologies Limited, Khopoli), I had opportunity to learn lots of things (from Dr. Sergei Gryaznov of Geron Corporation) about the drugs with Telomerase inhibition activity. As for as my knowledge goes, there are many companies working on these class of compounds and hope in the days to come there will be many drugs from this class of compounds and antisense drugs.

About Telomerase :

Telomerase, is an enzyme that adds specific DNA sequence repeats to the 3' end of DNA strands in the telomerase regions, which are found at the ends of eukaryotic chromosomes. The telomeres contain condensed DNA material, giving stability to the chromosomes. The enzyme is a reverse transcriptase that carries its own RNA molecule. Though the existence of a compensatory shortening of telomere (telomerase) mechanism, was first predicted by Soviet biologist Alexey Olovnikov (1973), who also suggested the Telomere hypothesis of ageing and the Telomere relations to cancer. Carol Greider and Elizabeth Blackburn in 1985, discovered telomerase together with Jack Szostak. Greider and Blackburn have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Congrats for this remarkable achievement.

Telomerase inhibitors :

To safeguard against cancer, adult cells keep track of how many times that they have multiplied, and once they have reached a pre-set limit — often around 80 divisions — they die. Telomerase interferes with this record keeping. So if one can find a drug or gene therapy that interferes with telomerase, it could fight the unchecked growth of cancer cells. As per the claim by lead researcher (Mark Muller), 90% all cancer cells are telomerase rich. Geron corporation, is developing modified DNA molecule (for which Innovasynth, has tie up with Geron to provide the intermediate amidites). The oligonucleotides, which target the template region, or active site, of telomerase. Geron's work has focused oligonucleotides (GRN163 and GRN163L,) and as per the claim by the company, both of them have demonstrated highly potent telomerase inhibitory activity at very low concentrations in biochemical assays, various cellular systems and animal studies. Interestingly these compounds are direct enzyme inhibitors, not antisense compounds and smaller than typical antisense compounds or other oligonucleotide drug candidates. Both compounds use a special thiophosphoramidate chemical backbone and the company is hopeful of convincing clinical trial results. All the best...

Ref : 1.

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