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Portrait of Randolph C. Elble, Ph.D.
Elble in his laboratory

October 6, 2010

SIU Med School Receives Four Grants to Study Cancer Therapies

A research scientist at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine has been awarded four federal grants to study the potential of several new therapies for cancer.   The total budget for the grants is $763,875.  Randolph C. Elble, Ph.D., assistant professor of pharmacology, is the principal investigator for all the grants.

A three-year grant comes from the National Cancer Institute, a division of the National Institutes of Health, through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  The research will explore how a specific breast cell protein, CLCA2, suppresses cancer cell growth in triple-negative breast cancer, which is usually metastatic and has a bleak long-term prognosis.  The total budget for the grant is $436,500.

Three one-year grants are from the Department of Defense/U.S. Army.  The total for these three grants is $327,375.

One grant will investigate whether the toxins from a tropical ant venom are effective when used as a drug against metastatic breast cancer.

A second grant will test a secreted form of a protein, CLCA4, as a possible way to suppress metastatic breast cancer.

A third grant will study whether CLCA2, delivered by a harmless virus, can destroy metastatic melanoma cells.

Elble, who also is a member of Simmons Cancer Institute at SIU, has been doing cancer research for 17 years and has been awarded a total of eight national grants.  His research focuses on the suppression of tumors by the CLCA family of calcium-activated chloride channel regulators.

Elble joined the SIU faculty in 2005.  He was a senior research associate in the cancer biology program, research associate in biochemistry and postdoctoral research associate in biochemistry at Cornell University.  Elble earned his doctoral degree at Indiana University (1986) and his bachelor’s at DePauw University (1977).