Gene therapy vectors carrying the telomerase gene do not increase the risk of cancer
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IMAGE: The nuclei are in blue, alveolar type II cells in green and telomeres in red. Notice that lung cells treated with active telomerase present more intense telomeres indicating that they… view more 

Credit: CNIO

Negative results and findings in science are perhaps less newsworthy, but they are no less important. Particularly when, as in this case, they demonstrate that a possible new therapeutic pathway against idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and other diseases associated to short telomeres is in fact safe. Researchers from the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) have shown in a new study that the gene therapy with telomerase that they have developed, and which has proven to be effective in mice against diseases caused by excessive telomere shortening and ageing, does not cause cancer or increase the risk of developing it, even in a cancer-prone setting.

This paper has been published in the journal PLoS Genetics with the participation of Miguel Angel Muñoz and Paula Martinez from the Telomeres and Telomerase Group led by Maria A. Blasco at the CNIO. In this study, CNIO researchers also collaborated with by Fàtima Bosch from the Gene Therapy Centre (CBATEG) at Barcelona’s Autonomous University.

CNIO’s Telomeres and Telomerase Group

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