Assays for Direct Detection of Telomerase Activity and Alternative Lengthening of Telomeres (ALT) in Tumors and Cell Lines.

Cellular immortalization, one of the hallmarks of cancer, depends on telomere length maintenance mechanisms (TMM) through the activity of either telomerase or alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT). The telomere repeat amplification protocol (T.R.A.P.) is the most widely used assay for telomerase activity, despite its inherent unreliability due to the presence in crude cell lysates of unknown inhibitors of not only telomerase itself, but also Taq polymerase. With no available alternative, researchers worldwide have until now been unable to… escape the T.R.A.P.

C-Circle Assay is also a non-PCR based technology that has opened up a range of opportunities for ALT research and the clinical detection of cancers that rely on the ALT mechanism. It is the only assay for ALT that is rapidly and linearly responsive to changes in ALT activity and hence the only assay that can be used to screen for ALT inhibitors or generally measure changes in ALT activity.

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