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Telomerase Presentations at the AACR 2007 Annual Meeting

MENLO PARK, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Apr 25, 2007 - Geron Corporation (Nasdaq:GERN) today referenced multiple presentations on the role of telomerase and telomeres in cancer at this year's American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting in Los Angeles. There were approximately 80 presentations on telomere and telomerase biology reflecting the growing body of evidence supporting the importance of telomerase as a universal cancer target for drug and vaccine development. Geron holds key intellectual property in the field and leads the development of telomerase-based cancer therapeutics with a drug, GRN163L, and a vaccine, GRNVAC1, in human clinical trials.

Telomerase and Cancer

The opening plenary talk of this year's AACR meeting by Dr. Ronald DePinho, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, entitled "One hundred years of cancer science: Milestones, opportunities, and challenges," highlighted the discovery of telomerase as a landmark in cancer research. Dr. DePinho's own work on manipulating telomerase and growth control genes in mouse models of cancer showed how telomere loss is a tumor suppressive mechanism when growth control genes are generally intact. Telomere shortening in this setting triggers arrest of abnormally dividing cells. However, when certain mutations occur in growth control genes over time due to environmental events or genetic predisposition, critical telomere loss can lead to genomic instability, further mutations, and cancer initiation. In the latter setting, telomerase upregulation quells telomere dysfunction and genomic instability, and confers replicative immortality to highly mutated cells which have the potential to form aggressive tumors. Information in Dr. DePinho's talk and other presentations throughout the AACR meeting on the regulation of telomere dynamics and telomerase activity elucidates the potential for telomerase-inhibiting molecules in the treatment of cancer.

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