The maintenance of telomeres—the structures of repetitive sequences at the end of a chromatid—is essential to the health of a cell. Dysfunction in telomere maintenance pathways plays an integral role in aging, cancer, and certain rare diseases such as dyskeratosis congenita (DC). The molecular analysis of telomere length, telomerase levels, and activation of the Alternative Lengthening of Telomeres (ALT) pathway are currently being used as prognostic tools in human diseases. This has led to telomere maintenance as a prime target for patient therapies. Studies have shown the modification of TERC (TElomerase RNA Component) expression may be therapeutically beneficial in DC patients. Additionally, current research is targeting telomere lengthening mechanisms as a cancer therapy. In this webinar, our experts will describe the advances in telomere research as it applies to human health and how deeper characterization of the telomerase maintenance process can uncover targets for therapies.
During the webinar, speakers will discuss:
- Genetic and molecular processes underlying telomere diseases such as cancer and dyskeratosis congenita
- Detection of Alternative Lengthening of Telomeres pathways and telomerase activity in tumor cells
- Prognostic significance of telomere biology and its impact on patient care
- Approaches to targeting telomere lengthening mechanisms
- Answers to your questions, live!
Roger Reddel, M.B., B.S., Ph.D.
Children's Medical Research Institute
Dr. Reddel obtained his medical degrees at the University of Sydney and then completed his training as a medical oncologist at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. He subsequently obtained a Ph.D. at the University of Sydney studying cancer cell biology, and was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to undertake postdoctoral research at the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. He returned to Australia to set up a laboratory at Children's Medical Research Institute (CMRI) in Sydney, and since that time has been investigating the cellular and molecular biology of cancer cell immortalization. His studies have mostly focused on the role of p53 and Rb/p16INK4a abnormalities, and of telomere length maintenance mechanisms (telomerase and Alternative Lengthening of Telomeres). He is currently director of CMRI, and Lorimer Dods Professor in the Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney.
Suneet Agarwal, M.D., Ph.D.
Boston Children's Hospital
Dr. Agarwal completed his undergraduate education at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island before pursuing his medical degree at Harvard Medical School and his Ph.D. training at Harvard University in Boston, Massachusetts. He carried out pediatric hematology/oncology clinical training at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Boston Children’s Hospital, where he also did his postdoctoral training in stem cell biology. Dr. Agarwal is currently an assistant professor in pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, principal faculty at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, and a staff physician in hematopoietic cell transplantation at Boston Children’s Hospital and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Dr. Agarwal is currently interested in the mechanisms and therapy of genetic blood diseases, with a focus on dyskeratosis congenita.
Moderator: Sean Sanders, Ph.D.
Dr. Sanders did his undergraduate training at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and his Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge, UK, supported by the Wellcome Trust. Following postdoctoral training at the National Institutes of Health and Georgetown University, Dr. Sanders joined TranXenoGen, a startup biotechnology company in Massachusetts working on avian transgenics. Pursuing his parallel passion for writing and editing, Dr. Sanders joined BioTechniques as an editor, before joining Science/AAAS in 2006. Currently Dr. Sanders is the Editor for Custom Publishing for the journal Science and Program Director for Outreach.
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Listen to this podcast to hear our expert speakers answer additional audience questions.