Nawfal Istfan MD, Ph.D.

Associate Professor


MD, American University of Beirut

Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute Of Technology

General field of research:

Nutrition and Cancer; Obesity and Insulin Resistance

Affiliations other than medicine:

Evans Center for Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research
Section of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Nutrition

Contact information:

88 East Newton Street; Evans Room 201
Phone: (617)-638 8557


Nutrition and cancer; Fish oil; Prostate Cancer Cell Proliferation; Flow Cytometry; Insulin Resistance

Summary of research interest:

Progression of prostate cancer to androgen independence represents a major step in the evolution of this disease to its aggressive and deadly form. Prevention or amelioration of this androgen independent state could significantly improve the treatment of this disease.

Evidence in our laboratory indicates fish oil and omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids may slow down the progression of prostate cancer cells to androgen independence. Our research focuses on understanding of cellular and molecular mechanisms that account for the effects of omega 3 fatty acids on prostate cancer. Ultimately, this research will help improve the safety and efficacy of prostate cancer treatment in men.

Recent publications:

Rex S, Kukuruzinska MA, Istfan NW. 2002 Nov. Inhibition of DNA replication by fish oil-treated cytoplasm is counteracted by fish oil-treated nuclear extract. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol; 283(5):C1365-75.

Istafan NW, Chen ZY, Rex S. 2002 Oct. Fish oil slows S phase progression and may cause upstream shift of DHFR replication origin ori-beta in CHO cells. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol; 283(4):C1009-24

Istfan NW, Person KS, Holick MF, Chen TC. 2007 Mar. 1alpha,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D and fish oil synergistically inhibit G1/S-phase transition in prostate cancer cells J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol; 103(3-5):726-30.

Anderson WA, Greene GW, Forse RA, Apovian CM, Istfan NW. 2007 Jun. Weight loss and health outcomes in African Americans and whites after gastric bypass surgery. Obesity (Silver Spring); 15(6):1455-63.

Technologies available for sharing upon request:

Cell Culture; Flow Cytometry; Cell cycle Analysis