quadruplex master switch technology

DNA to RNA to protein. This is the rhythm of life. Right now, your body is translating your DNA blueprint into life-sustaining biomolecules at precisely the right place and time. Genetic factors can drive gene expression to go wrong, resulting in over or under production. When this happens, disease results. Especially cancer.

DNA to RNA to protein. This is the rhythm of life.

Virtually all cancers are caused by aberrant changes in gene expression. Upon confrontation with therapy, even more genetic changes can occur to enable cancer’s survival.


Most medicines work by targeting proteins. But for many of cancer’s worst actors, this approach does not work. These protein targets are labeled as “intractable” as they do not easily succumb to traditional methods for the discovery of new medicines. The encouraging news is that genes for many of these protein targets are under the control of DNA quadruplexes. What this means is that if the quadruplex can be manipulated at the gene level, then therapeutic solutions can be envisioned where none existed before.

What is
Quadruplex DNA?

Everyone knows that DNA exists as a double helix. When gene expression begins, the helix undergoes torsional stress and local unwinding, resulting in separation of the DNA strands. In many genes, four-stranded DNA structures form called quadruplexes.

The natural occurrence of quadruplexes has been known for over 30 years, but their functional relevance was unknown until Reglagene’s founder and CSO, Professor Laurence Hurley, discovered that quadruplexes in gene promoter regions (the part of the gene that initiates expression) serve as master control elements to regulate gene expression.

Quadruplex Master Switch Technology

Many of the genes under quadruplex control are on a short list of therapeutically important targets that are inaccessible via standard drug discovery technologies. Professor Hurley took the research several steps further to create methods that enable the development of small-molecule medicines that selectively interact with quadruplexes to regulate gene expression. Collectively, we refer to these methods as Quadruplex Master Switch Technology (QMST).


The nearest therapeutic analogy to Reglagene’s technology is found in gene editing, as both modulate the first step in gene expression. But unlike gene editing technologies, Reglagene creates small-molecule agents as the therapeutic modality. Compared to gene editing, small molecules cost less to administer, are easier to deliver to the site of action, and have better-traveled development and regulatory pathways.


Reglagene’s mission is to apply QMST to cancer targets that have evaded conventional discovery and development technologies to create medicines of high societal and commercial value.


Reglagene’s mission is to apply QMST to diseases in which changes in gene expression are contributory. Cancer typically comes to mind in this context. Other diseases in areas such as aging, metabolic disorders, neurodegeneration, and pulmonary function are also in play.

Reglagene has developed a proprietary approach, utilizing QMST to selectively regulate the expression of telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT), killing cancer cells and inhibiting further tumor growth.


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