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Release Date: Friday, May 17, 2013 12:09 PM
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Howard Researcher’s Work Could Lead to a Better Understanding of Cancer
Sudha Sharma, Ph.D.

WASHINGTON (May 12, 2013) -- Sudha Sharma, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in the Howard University College of Medicine, recently published new findings that make a significant contribution to the understanding of genomic instability, including those found in cancer.  Her research could place scientists on a path to design more effective cancer treatment strategies.   

New research by Sharma and her laboratory associates published in Molecular Cancer shows how RECQ1, a protein that is present in human cells, is recruited to hotspots of DNA damage that are particularly sensitive to DNA breaks in cancer cells.

In another study, published in PLOS ONE, Sharma’s lab, which is supported by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences at the National Institutes of Health, describes how RECQ1 protein repairs breaks in the DNA, which is essential for maintaining the integrity of our genetic material.

In order for many cancer drugs to be effective, they must induce damage to the DNA and cause breaks in chromosomes, Sharma explained.  RECQ1 interferes with this process by repairing those breaks, her research suggests.  Citing her work, scientists from another study, published in Nature Structural and Molecular Biology, are discussing the possibility of blocking RECQ1, thus making the cancer drugs work better. 


Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 13 schools and colleges. Students pursue studies in more than 120 areas leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. Since 1998, the University has produced two Rhodes Scholars, two Truman Scholars, a Marshall Scholar, 30 Fulbright Scholars and 11 Pickering Fellows. Howard also produces more on campus African-American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information on Howard University, call 202-238-2330, or visit the University's Web site at

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