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August 20, 2008

SIU Med School Receives McElroy Grants

A physician and research scientist at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Springfield have been awarded grants from the William E. McElroy Charitable Foundation for cancer research.  Both are members of the research team at the SimmonsCooper Cancer Institute at SIU.

Dr. Elizabeth Peralta, Dr. Elizabeth peralta portrait associate professor of surgery, received a two-year grant to study an estrogen receptor, GPR30, that is believed to stimulate cancer cell growth and make tumors more resistant to chemotherapy.  The GPR30 receptor has been found in young women and blacks who have a type of breast cancer that is difficult to treat.  The results of the study could lead to a new treatment for breast cancer.  The budget for the grant is $38,500.

Mary E. McAsey, Ph.D., Mary McAsey, Ph.D., portrait associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology, received a two-year grant to study how bone marrow stem cells can be modified to migrate to tumors and destroy cancer cells.   The research may lead to new cancer therapies in which the patient’s own bone marrow stem cells might be used in the treatment of ovarian, breast, prostate and other cancers.  The total budget for the grant is $38,500.      

The McElroy Foundation was established by the estate of William E. McElroy, a former central Illinois businessman and Springfield postmaster, who died in 1992.  It provides various local grants and loans including grants to medical researchers studying cancer and heart disease.  Eight previous SIU research scientists have received McElroy grants.

Peralta joined the SIU faculty in 2000.  She completed a three-year fellowship in surgical oncology at the City of Hope National Medical Center (2000) and her general surgery residency at Virginia Mason Medical Center (1997).  She earned her medical degree at the University of California College of Medicine (1992) and her bachelor’s degree at the University of California in Berkley (1987).  Peralta is board certified in general surgery. 

McAsey joined the SIU faculty in 1996.  She completed a two-year postdoctoral fellowship in reproductive endocrinology at the University of Arizona in Tucson (1996).  McAsey earned her doctoral degree at the University of Arizona (1994) and her master’s and bachelor’s degrees at the University of Wisconsin (1978, 1975).   

The SimmonsCooper Cancer Institute at SIU is focusing the medical school’s efforts in cancer research, physician and public education, and treatment for patients from across central and southern Illinois.  Its web site is  The main phone number is 217-545-6000.    



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