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Geron Corporation Message Board

  • lws2000 lws2000 Jan 19, 2014 2:36 PM Flag

    More Thoughts "Holy Grail" = "Imetelstat": Telomeres, Stemcells, Immortal Cells, Ageing Cells, Pipeline (SA, Jan.17)

    Importantly, Geron did not get out of the stem cell business as most analysts have written. Instead, they decided to leverage their extensive years of research and knowledge about stem cells to develop a drug that would target the cancer stem cells that fuel tumorigenesis. Personally, I spent several years in a big pharmaceutical company screening drugs that target cancer stem cells. Every company developing cancer drugs knows that the Holy Grail is discovering a drug that can target the cancer stem cells. This is what Geron has developed.

    Cancer Stem Cells and Imetelstat

    Typically, cancer drug efficacy during development is measured by how much the drug can shrink the tumor or extend survival of the patient. However, after several months or years many cancers relapse. This is because the drug fails to target the cancer stem cells and only affects the bulk tumor. The idea of cancer stem cells has been around a long time and is well characterized in hematopoietic malignancies and some solid tumors like testicular cancer. For example, cancer stem cells in testicular tumors are extremely sensitive to the chemotherapeutic Cisplatin, making testicular cancer one of the most curable cancers with a 99% treatment success rate. It is well known that immortal stem cells rely on telomerase to stay alive and that it would be a perfect target for drug development. However, drug compounds developed failed to specifically target telomerase. To date, Geron's patented oligo design is the only drug that can permeate cells and specifically target telomerase effectively.

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