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Holt Research Laboratory
Molecular Mechanisms of Aging & Cancer

The Focal Point of Aging and Cancer Research

senescenceThe focal point of Holt Research Lab's investigations is telomeres in aging and cancer. The synthesis of telomeres is catalyzed in eukaryotic cell division by telomerase. Telomerase is a ribonucleoprotein whose activity has been detected in germ line cells, immortal cells, and most cancer cells. While not found in most normal cells, telomerase is expressed in over 90% of advanced human cancers, making it the most prominent cancer marker ever. 

Understanding the regulation of telomerase activity is critical for the development of potential tools for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Dr. Holt’s research goal is to use telomerase to prevent cell aging and prevent progression to cancer; and, if there is detectable cancer, find it early using telomerase. If the cancer has progressed, their goal is to use a novel antitelomerase adjuvant therapy, together with tumor resection or conventional therapies, to specifically and effectively inhibit tumor growth and prevent recurrence with minimal side effects.

Shawn Holt, PhDContact Shawn Holt, PhD
Office: (804) 827-0458
FAX: (804) 828-9749
sholt3@mcvh-vcu.edu