Method for Identifying Novel Telomerase Inhibitors with Utility in Cancer Treatment

Life Sciences : Materials and Compounds

Available for licensing


  • Sean Kerwin, Ph.D. , College of Pharmacy
  • Oleg Fedoroff, Ph.D. , College of Pharmacy
  • Miguel Salazar, Ph.D. , College of Pharmacy
  • Laurence Hurley, Ph.D. , University of Arizona

Background/unmet need

Certain sequences of DNA are able to form unique, G-quadruplex structures. These structures are implicated in a variety of biological processes. One example of such a process is the cancer-cell specific elongation of chromosome telomeres by the enzyme telomerase. G-quadruplex structures have also been implicated in the transcriptional control of specific genes, and in inherited diseases such as fragile X syndrome.

Invention Description

These compounds are inhibitors of the cancer-cell specific telomerase and have potential as anticancer agents.


    Lack of toxicity: due to the high level of G-quadruplex DNA binding selectivity, these compounds are non-cytotoxic in acute cell toxicity studies, and in mice in vivo.


    Novel mode of action: In addition to inhibiting the cancer cell specific enzyme telomerase, these compounds may have more immediate effects on disrupting telomere function in cancer cells.Selectivity: This class of compounds is the most selective G-quadruplex interactive agents known, with G-quadruplex DNA to double-stranded DNA binding selectivity of up to one-thousand-fold.

Market potential/applications

Cancer treatments

Development Stage

Proof of concept

IP Status

  • 3 foreign patents application filed

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