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GIST Support International - Glossary of Terms
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telomeraseAn enzyme that rebuilds telomeres. Telomerase is overexpressed in many cancer cells, and contributes to their immortality, or ability to divide endlessly.
telomeresSpecial DNA sequences at the ends of each chromosome that grow shorter each time a cell divides. Telomeres count the number of cell divisions, and when it shortens to a certain length, the cell will stop dividing (senescence) and eventually die.
tumor suppressor geneA protective gene that normally limits the growth of tumors. Tumor suppressor genes encode proteins that prevent the cell from proliferating (dividing) if it has abnormalities in its DNA. When a tumor suppressor gene is mutated (altered), it may fail to keep a cancer from growing. Some of the tumor suppressor genes that may be involved in GIST include p53, p16, and pTEN.

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