December 12, 2013

Medical School gets grant to study prostate cancer

A research scientist at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Springfield 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.

Daotai Nie, Ph.D., associate professor of medical microbiology, immunology and cell biology, is the principal investigator for the project. He is also a member of the Simmons Cancer Institute at SIU.

Based on data from a previous study, Nie believes the tumor pseudogene Oct4 is a possible driver of prostate tumor formation and progression. Using a combination of cell culture and animal models, the newly funded study will 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 Nie’s research staff, Man-Tzu Wang and Hongmei Jiang, conducted the previous study.

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.

Nie joined the SIU faculty in 2005.  He earned his doctoral degree at the University of South Carolina in Columbia (1977) and his master's degree at the Institute of Genetics, Chinese academy of Sciences in Beijing (1991).