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Telomeres, p21 and the cancer-aging hypothesis

Telomere dysfunction suppresses cancer through the p53 tumor suppressor pathway but also contributes to aging. A new study suggests that these effects of dysfunctional telomeres may be separable, such that aging—but not cancer suppression—depends on the p21 cell cycle inhibitor.

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Figure 1: The role of p21 in the p53 response.


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Bell, J., Sharpless, N. Telomeres, p21 and the cancer-aging hypothesis. Nat Genet 39, 11–12 (2007).

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