A study published in The Journal of Pathology reveals that many cancers that carry a poor prognosis express an altered form of human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT), an enzyme that regulates the expression of multiple genes.

Scientists previously linked a modification called phosphorylation at a particular location on the hTERT enzyme to poor prognosis in liver and pancreatic cancers. Now the team has built on this research to show that elevated levels of this phosphorylated hTERT are common in other types of cancer as well, especially when the cancers have aggressive features.

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