Funding period

Jan 2022 - Dec 2024



from Ovarian Cancer Canada

About the project

Ovarian clear cell carcinoma (OCCC) is a rare disease, accounting for approximately 5-10% of all ovarian carcinomas in North America, and a higher percentage in Asia. Unfortunately, there is no effective treatment for this cancer and new therapeutic approaches are urgently needed. Previous studies have shown that OCCC has high expression of an enzyme called telomerase. By upregulating telomerase, OCCC cells acquire an ability for unlimited proliferation (increase in the number of cells), which drives tumor formation and growth. In fact, targeting telomerase with inhibitors has been actively pursued as a potential avenue for treating cancer patients. Unfortunately, despite multiple efforts, such inhibitors have been so far ineffective in clinical trials. Here, we propose to identify and validate alternative targets, that are selectively essential for the survival of OCCC cells expressing high levels of telomerase. Inhibition of these targets should eliminate OCCC tumors, while normal tissues that do not express telomerase remain unaffected. Overall, this investigation is expected to support the development of new effective OCCC therapies, improving the survival of OCCC patients.

The 3d structure of telomerase uncovering its role in human disease

Telomerase enzyme