DALLAS—The University of Texas (UT) Southwestern Medical Center has announced the receipt of more than $12.6 million in research grants for cancer research and prevention from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT), as well as $4 million for recruiting cancer scientists. This is part of the more than $89 million the CPRIT is awarding and announced on May 20. The institution awarded 28 grants through its academic research program, 11 through its prevention program and two through its product development research program.
Four UT Southwestern researchers were awarded research grants at the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center as part of the CPRIT's High-Impact/High-Risk Research Awards. In addition, two prevention grants were awarded to two UT Southwestern programs: one for breast cancer screening, which received $1.49 million, and one for colon cancer screening, which received $4.8 million, CPRIT's largest prevention grant to date.
“We are deeply grateful for this support from CPRIT and the people of Texas. These grants will fund important and innovative research projects and prevention programs, leading ultimately to improved treatments for cancer patients and more widespread prevention efforts for the population of Texas and beyond,” commented Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky, president of UT Southwestern and holder of the Philip O’Bryan Montgomery Jr., M.D., Distinguished Presidential Chair in Academic Administration and the Doris and Bryan Wildenthal Distinguished Chair in Medical Science.
“These projects demonstrate the collaborative research efforts we value at the Simmons Cancer Center, and they encourage further discoveries that will help cancer patients,” Dr. James Wilson, associate dean of Oncology Programs at UT Southwestern and professor and director of the Simmons Cancer Center, said in a press release.
The grants will be applied to a variety of different initiatives. An award of $5.59 million will go to support the development of UT Southwestern's bioinformatics capability. UT Southwestern will receive a total of $800,000 in High-Impact/High-Risk Research Awards, which will support four initiatives, each of which will receive $200,000: Dynamin GTPase: A Novel Pro-Apoptotic Cancer Therapeutic Target; Acetate May Be a Key Substrate Driving Growth in Early Stage Breast Cancer in Patients; Identification of Novel Melanoma Metastasis Driver Genes through Transposon-Mediated Mutagenesis; and Identifying Inhibitors of Ascl1 to Block Growth of Malignant Neuroendocrine and Neural Tumors.
Other organizations that received some of the CPRIT's recent grants include the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Texas A&M University (and its Health Science Center), Baylor College of Medicine, Rice University and the University of Texas at Arlington, among others. Since 2009, the CPRIT has awarded $1.33 billion in grants to date to Texas researchers, institutions and organizations.
All told, the CPRIT's recent academic research grants total approximately $60 million, with nearly $31 million of that going toward six Core Facilities Support Awards, which are meant to establish or further research facilities to support scientifically promising cancer research projects. The High-Impact/High-Risk grants are meant to contribute major new insights and ideas into the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of cancers, while the prevention awards provide funding for prevention services for underserved populations in Texas.
SOURCE: CPRIT press release