Grant allows NIU prof. to conduct cancer research

By Katrina Kelly

A five-year $450,000 grant from the National Cancer Institute is enabling an NIU associate professor to probe the molecular processes involved in causing cancer.

Biological Sciences Associate Professor T. Daniel Griffiths applied for the grant and is conducting the research, which is concerned with the relationship between deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) cells and cancer cells.

“Hopefully the results can be used to better understand cancer,” Griffiths said. “There is the potential for stopping the disease also.”

Griffiths’ research involves the examination of changing normal cells into cancer cells using ultraviolet light. “We know that it (cancer) has genetic causes,” Griffiths said. His project looks at this process by examining DNA replication on certain cells after they are subjected to ultraviolet light.

Griffiths added there are indications that the ultraviolet rays used in some suntanning beds can lead to cancer.

Griffiths began his research in 1982 and received the grant early this semester. “(The grant) supports graduate students of all research.”

The NIU Office of Sponsored Projects submitted Griffiths’ application.

Sponsored Projects Director Linda Schwarz said the grant is a fairly large one. “It will assist in important research on cancer. There was very stiff competition for this grant and he (Griffiths) deserves a lot of credit for getting it.”

Sponsored Projects Resource Coordinator Gail Mitchell said, “We were delighted to see that the grant had succeeded. Competition is stiff for federal funds.

“We are very pleased about Dr. Griffiths’ continued success,” she said, adding that he has a long record of funding through the National Cancer Institute.

“This type of research is very expensive, and that amount of money is required for personnel and supplies,” Mitchell said. “This is a substantial grant.”

Griffiths has not set a date for the conclusion of his research. “It will change direction as the research develops,” he said.