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A molecule to greatly elongate telomeres for lifespan extension of mammalian cells

Duke University is seeking a company interested in commercializing a novel and versatile method to extend the lifespan of mammalian cells for application in tissue engineering. The loss of telomeres and consequently limited lifespan of most human somatic and stem cells limits many tissue engineering and potentially stem cell regeneration applications. Ectopic expression of human Telomerase Reverse Transcriptase (hTERT) can arrest the loss of telomerase but also can promotes tumor growth. We therefore engineered an hTERT molecule that rapidly elongates telomeres. Such a protein could be transiently expressed in cells to overcome the potential cancer promoting properties of sustained expression of telomerase, but would nevertheless extend cell lifespan for use in tissue engineering and stem cell regeneration applications.

Duke File (IDF) Number



  • Counter, Christopher
  • Armbruster, Blaine

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School of Medicine (SOM)

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