Southern Illinois University School of Medicine

Aspects 37-1 Research - SIU School of Medicine Office of Public Affairs


Research at SIU School of Medicine

Dr. Nie

Prostate tumor gene may spur progression

Daotai Nie, PhD, (pictured left) has been awarded a three-year federal grant from the Department of Defense – U.S. Army Medical Research to study prostate cancer tumor formation and progression. The total budget for the grant is $545,445.

Dr. Nie, associate professor of medical microbiology, immunology and cell biology and a member of the Simmons Cancer Institute at SIU, is the principal investigator. Based on data from a previous study conducted in his lab, he believes the tumor pseudogene Oct4 is a possible driver of prostate tumor formation and progression. The new study will utilize a combination of cell culture and animal models to determine whether Oct4 can be targeted to prevent prostate cancer from advancing and spreading. Results of the study may lead to the development of a future treatment for prostate cancer.

Two graduate students on his research staff, Man-Tzu Wang and Hongmei Jiang, conducted the previous study.

Dr. Nie’s research has been funded for 15 years by various agencies including the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Defense and now totals $3.4 million. His research has focused on the cellular and molecular alterations in the malignant progression of tumors.

Looking into living longer

Rong Yuan, MD, PhD, (pictured right) has been awarded a five-year grant by the National Institutes of Health for the study “Depressing Nrip1 Reduces IGF1 Signaling, Improves Metabolism and Extends Longevity.” The grant is $687,555. Dr. Yuan joined the Department of Internal Medicine’s geriatric research laboratory in September 2012. He is an assistant professor working with Andrzej Bartke, PhD


Dr. Yuan

Drug may protect against cisplatin’s side effects

Dr. Ramkumar

Dr. Ramkumar

Patients given the drug cisplatin to combat cancer often suffer negative side effects that include significant hearing loss and acute kidney failure. A research group led by Vickram Ramkumar, PhD, has been awarded a five-year federal grant to study these consequences in cancer patients. The research will test the ability of an investigational drug, transplatin, to protect against cisplatin’s side effects.

Dr. Ramkumar’s preliminary studies in animals have shown that transplatin protects against cisplatin-induced hearing loss and nephrotoxicity (kidney damage). The investigation will collect data from animal studies to be used for applying to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for clinical trials of transplatin as a treatment for cancer patients. Transplatin was discovered as a possible treatment by Dr. Ramkumar, who currently has a patent pending on the drug.

The $1.5 million grant is awarded by the National Cancer Institute, a division of the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Ramkumar is professor of pharmacology and a member of the research team at Simmons Cancer Institute at SIU. He will serve as the principal investigator for the project. Other collaborators are Leonard Rybak, MD, PhD, professor, and Debbie Mukherjea, PhD, assistant professor, both in surgery; Theresa Liberati, PhD, DVM, assistant professor of internal medicine and director of laboratory animal medicine; and Steve Verhulst, PhD, professor of statistics and research consulting, all SIU School of Medicine; and Edward Navarre, PhD, Tim McPherson, PhD, and Bill Kolling, PhD, all professors of pharmaceutical sciences at SIU Edwardsville.

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The mission of SIU School of Medicine is to assist the citizens of central and southern Illinois in meeting their health-care needs through education, patient care, research and service to the community.


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