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August 25, 2008

SIU Med School Receives NIH Grant to Study Virus Associated with Cancer

A research scientist at SIU School of Medicine in Springfield has been awarded a two-year federal grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to study the activity of an enzyme associated with herpes virus.  The total budget for the grant is $397,375.

Edward Gershburg, Ph.D., assistant professor of medical microbiology, immunology and cell biology, is the principal investigator for the project and serves as a research member of the SimmonsCooper Cancer Institute at SIU.  This is the first NIH grant awarded for Gershburg’s research, which is focused on herpes virus and cancer.

Kinases are enzymes which control complex processes in cells.  Changes in specific kinases can disrupt the normal function of the host cell and eventually contribute to the development of certain cancers.  The study will conduct tests in various laboratory cultures to better understand the role of an important kinase in viral infection and develop drugs that will target its activity.  The results of the research may lead to new therapies that will prevent the virus from spreading, thus reducing the frequency of various diseases, including cancer.

Gershburg joined the SIU faculty in 2007.  He earned his doctoral degree in virology at Tel-Aviv University in Israel (1999) and his master’s degree in microbiology at St. Petersburg State University in Russia (1992).

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