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First complete visual map of elusive enzyme linked to cancer

Narrator:       This is Science Today. For the first time ever, scientists have created a complete 3-D visual map of the telomerase enzyme, which is a key player in cancer and aging. Edward Miracco, an NIH postdoctoral fellow at UCLA who is part of the UCLA-UC Berkeley team that made this breakthrough, says actually seeing the telomerase enzyme's inner workings may open up a whole new approach to fighting disease.

Miracco:         To develop a drug, it helps a lot to have a target. So, what you do is take the structure that we've solved and put it into a computer simulation and you screen effectively in the computer lots of small molecules and see if any of them stick to your structure. And if a small molecule sticks to a structure that suggests that it may impact its activity. Well, then you go into the lab and you see if it does and you see if that inhibits the activity and if it does, that's great because then that's a drug candidate. So, having the structure allows you to whittle down the total number of compounds that you need to test against.

Narrator:       For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.