Infinite growth of cancer cells is a hallmark of cancer. Recent studies show that the immortality of cancer cells is primarily mediated by the maintenance of chromosome ends (telomeres) via the enzyme telomerase.
Telomerase is critically required for not only growth but also survival of cancer cells. Inhibition of telomerase offers an important opportunity to stop cancer cell immortalization. To date, however, little is known about how to control telomerase activity and thereby inhibit the continuous growth of cancer cells.
By researching a number of small proteins, we have recently identified an inhibitor of telomerase. This project will investigate the inhibition of cancer cells by the novel inhibitor in animal model. The study will provide important insight into how cancer cells grow with infinite lifespan, and provide a unique opportunity to investigate how to control cancer cell immortality as a baseline for more applied anti-cancer therapeutic studies.
Dr He Li, A/Professor Jun-Ping Liu
Research Grant: 2007