Telomeres on Steroids – Turning Back the Mitotic Clock

Editorial in NEJM by Peter Lansdorp, M.D., Ph.D.

May 19, 2016

In a study reported in The New England Journal of Medicine, Townsley et al. found that patients with diseases that are thought to result from defective telomere maintenance benefit from treatment with androgenic anabolic steroids.1 All 12 of the patients they examined had normalization of their leukocyte telomere attrition rate and 11 of the 12 had evidence of telomere elongation instead of telomere loss. These are exciting findings that provide food for thought about the role of telomeres and telomerase in hematopoietic stem cells.

  1. Townsley DM, Dumitriu B, Liu D, et al. Danazol treatment for telomere diseases. N Engl J Med 2016;374:1922-1931

The full text of this editorial can be found at: N Engl J Med 2016; 374:1978-1980