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Release: Jan. 9, 2001

Holden Cancer Center researchers win ACS grants

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- An elite group of junior faculty members and independent researchers at the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Iowa were awarded with $20,000 American Cancer Society (ACS) grants in order to explore cancer prevention, therapy and causes.

Award recipients include Zhila Khalkhali-Ellis, Ph.D., associate research scientist in anatomy and cell biology. Khalkhali-Ellis received the grant for her study, "Nitric Oxide Regulation of Maspin in Mammary Epithelium Under Normal and Neoplastic Conditions."

Recipient Zoya Kurago, D.D.S., Ph.D., assistant professor of oral pathology, radiology, and medicine in the UI College of Dentistry, received the grant for her study, "Innate Immune System Interactions in Oral Cancer: Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma Effects on Dendritic Cell and Natural Killer Cell Responses." Kurago said the grant will continue her research into the effects of oral cancer cells on the immune system.

The third award winner, Nancy Lill, Ph.D., assistant professor of pharmacology, received an ACS grant for her study, "Negative Regulation of EGF Receptor Signaling by the Proto-oncoprotein Cbl." Lill said that her studies of the protein Cbl and its suppression of epidermal growth factor (EGF) could be essential in the identification of areas that need treatment for cancerous cells in breast tissue.

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