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Telomerase: a Promising Marker of Biological Immortality of Germ, Stem, and Cancer Cells. A Review

A. K. Meeker1 and D. S. Coffey1,2

1James Buchanan Brady Urological Institute Research Laboratories, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland 21287-2101, USA; fax: (410) 955-0833; E-mail: DCoffey@gwgate1.welch.jhu.edu

2To whom correspondence should be addressed.

Submitted September 12, 1997.
This review will describe the current state of knowledge of telomerase as it relates to human malignancies, focusing primarily on published measurements of this enzyme’s activity in benign and malignant neoplasms and their normal tissue counterparts. Key questions concerning the potential clinical utility of assaying for telomerase activity will be addressed and the implications of recent findings discussed.
KEY WORDS: telomerase, oncogenesis, cancer.