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NIH Grant Will Aid SIU Breast Cancer Research

August 29, 2016

Ran lab to study tumor formation, spread

Tumor cells use thin-walled lymphatic vessels to travel and spread in the human body. Once cancer spreads, a patient’s prognosis dims.NIH Grant Will Aid SIU Breast Cancer Research

SIU research scientist Sophia Ran, PhD, is working to stop the spread of breast cancer. She has been awarded a five-year grant from the National Cancer Institute, a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to study ways to prevent or reduce the metastasis in breast cancer. Ran is a professor of medical microbiology, immunology and cell biology at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine and member of the Simmons Cancer Institute at SIU.

The total budget for the grant is $1,687,030. Ran is the project’s principal investigator.

Her studies will explore the mechanisms that cause the formation of new lymphatic vessels and metastasis in breast cancer. She recently discovered a novel mechanism that fuels lymphatic vessel outgrowth, and new experiments will focus on its origin and how it can be stopped.

Her research, which previously has been funded by NIH and the U.S. Department of Defense, now totals $3,413,530. Ran’s work seeks to enhance understanding of the molecular, cellular and physiological events leading to the formation of tumor blood and lymphatic vessels and to identify new targets for inhibiting tumor spread.

Ran’s project was initially supported by an SIU Team Science Grant made possible through Simmons Cancer Institute’s Denim & Diamonds Gala.

Ran joined the SIU faculty in 2003. She completed postdoctoral fellowships in cellular physiology at the Hospital for Sick Children (1992) and in protein purification and transport at the University of Alabama (1991). She earned her doctoral degree at the Weizmann Institute of Science (1989), her master’s at Ben Gurion University (1983) and her bachelor’s at Tel Aviv University (1981).

Research reported in this press release is supported by the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R01CA-199649.