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August 27, 2008

SIU Med School Receives National Grants to Study Breast Cancer

Two researchers at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Springfield have been awarded national grants.  Both are working with scientists who are members of the SimmonsCooper Cancer Institute at SIU.

Eiji Furuta, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow, has received a three-year grant from the Susan B. Komen Foundation to study how an edible plant that grows in Asia, Cacalia delphiniifolia, can be used to target the fatty acid synthase gene and stop the growth of cancer tumors.  The research may lead to a new treatment and prevention of breast cancer.  The total budget for the grant is $177,975.  Furuta is studying with Kounosuke Watabe, Ph.D., professor of medical microbiology, immunology and cell biology at SIU.

Michael Flister, a graduate assistant, received a predoctoral fellowship from the Department of Defense/U.S. Army Medical Research.  The study is trying to determine which specific inflammatory proteins are responsible for spreading tumor lymphatic vessels in breast cancer metastasis.  The research may lead to a new treatment for metastatic breast cancer and increase patient survival.   The total budget for the grant is $76,136.  Flister works in the laboratory of Sophia Ran, Ph.D., assistant professor of medical microbiology, immunology and cell biology at SIU. 

Furuta came to SIU in 2005.  He earned his doctoral, master’s and bachelor’s degrees in bioscience and biotechnology from Kindai University School of Agriculture in Nara, Japan (2005, 2001, 1999).

Flister began SIU’s graduate program in 2005.  He is a doctoral candidate and earned his bachelor’s degree in health sciences at Bradley University in Peoria (2005).  Flister is the son of Gail Flister and the late John Flister of Antioch.

The mission of the SimmonsCooper Cancer Institute at SIU is to serve the people of central and southern Illinois by addressing their present and future cancer care needs through medical education, biomedical research and patient service.  Its Web site is www.siumed.edu/cancer and its main phone number is 217-545-6000.

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thern Illinois University School of Medicine Office of Public Affairs News Releases P.O. Box 19621, Springfield IL 62794-9621, 217-545-2155