More than half of state cancer grants awarded to UT institutions

AUSTIN—The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) recently announced that eight University of Texas institutions have been awarded $59 million in grants to help make advancements in the prevention and treatment of cancer. That’s nearly 60 percent of all funds awarded across the state.  

Thirty-six grants through CPRIT’s academic research and prevention programs were awarded to UT MD Anderson, UT Health San Antonio, UT Southwestern, UTHealth Houston, UT Arlington, UT Austin, UT Dallas and UT San Antonio. UT MD Anderson, UT Southwestern and UT Health San Antonio are designated National Cancer Institute cancer centers, which must meet rigorous criteria for world-class programs in cancer research.

Altogether, CPRIT announced 60 grants of more than $102 million to institutions and companies across Texas. To date, CPRIT has awarded about $1.89 billion in grants to help fight cancer since its establishment in 2009. CPRIT was created following the overwhelming approval in 2007 of a constitutional amendment committing $3 billion to the fight against cancer. During the 85th Texas Legislature, CPRIT’s Sunset Review date was extended by two years to 2023 to allow the agency to fulfill its constitutional mandate to invest all funds approved by Texas voters.

“These awards are absolutely critical in helping UT institutions make significant gains in the fight against cancer and we are profoundly grateful to CPRIT—and the Texas voters who approved its creation—for supporting cancer research in such a meaningful way. I also want to extend both my heartfelt gratitude and congratulations to the faculty and administrative leadership at campuses across the UT System who worked so hard on CPRIT grant applications. Their dedication will pay life-saving dividends for years to come,” UT System Chancellor William H. McRaven said. “These CPRIT awards will be used to recruit the world’s greatest cancer researchers to Texas, to explore and discover new approaches to diagnosing, treating and preventing cancer, and to enhancing research facilities.”

CPRIT grants awarded to UT institutions in this round include:

AWARDED RESEARCH GRANTS:

Early Translational Research Awards – One grant totaling $$915,000

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

  • Targeting Ubiquitination for Cancer Therapy (Shuxing Zhang) – $915,000

Individual Investigator Awards – Seven grants totaling $5.6 million

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

  • Role of HDAC8 and Higher Order Chromatin Structure in Melanoma Metastasis and Therapy (Kunal Rai) – $823,154
  • Novel Regulation and Function of TAK1 in Mutant Kras-driven Development of Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma (Paul Chiao) – $823,500
  • Mechanistic Roles of Long Non-Coding RNA in Glioblastoma Development and Treatment (Suyun Huang) – $823,500

The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

  • HTS for Covalent GTP-competitive Inhibitors of KRAS G12C (Kenneth Westover) – $823,500
  • Tumor Suppression, p53 and Retrotransposons (John Abrams) – $816,171
  • Probing Novel Concepts of the NF-kappaB Transcriptional Program in Human Cancer (Ivan D'Orso) – $679,458
  • Chemically Based Disruption of Oncogenic Beta-catenin Activity in Liver Tissue (Lawrence Lum) – $823,500

High Impact High Risk Awards – 11 grants totaling $2.2 million

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

  • Capitalizing on Therapeutic Liabilities in RAS-Mutant Cancers with a Rational Combination Therapy with PARP and MEK Inhibitors (Gordon Mills) – $200,000
  • Identification of Critical Dependencies and Actionable Therapeutic Options in Smarcb1-Deficient Pediatric Tumors (Giulio Draetta) – $200,000

The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

  • Regulation of Cancer Cell Migration by Secreted Protein Phosphorylation (Vincent Tagliabracci) – $200,000
  • Targeting a Metabolic Reprogramming Event for the Early Prevention of Pancreatic Cancers (Benjamin Tu) – $200,000
  • Targeting a Novel Nuclease PAAN in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer (Yingfei Wang) – $200,000
  • The Role of the CACNA1D Calcium Channel in Melanoma (Sean Morrison) – $199,828

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio

  • A Novel Chemical Strategy to Target EGFR for Destruction (Hai Rao) – $200,000

The University of Texas at San Antonio

  • Optimization of a Novel Class of Microtubule Stabilizers That Circumvent Multiple Drug Resistance Mechanisms Through Crystal-Structure Guided Total Synthesis (Douglas Frantz) – $200,000

The University of Texas at Dallas

  • Radiation-Induced Release of Chemotherapeutic Agents in Vivo (Jeremiah Gassensmith) – $200,000

The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

  • An Unexpected Oncometabolic Axis: Exposing Novel Regulators of Cardiac Remodeling in Leukemia (Heinrich Taegtmeyer) – $199,744

The University of Texas at Arlington

  • Noninvasive Lung Cancer Screening by Rapid Chemical Profiling of Exhaled Breath (Yuze Sun) – $199,999

Core Facility Support Awards – Four grants totaling $20.7 million

The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

  • Cyclotron and Radiochemistry Core Facility for Pediatric Oncology (Xiankai Sun) – $5,648,027
  • Establish a New Cryo-Electron Microscopy Core Facility and Service for Structure Determination at UT Southwestern Medical Center (Daniela Nicastro) – $5,498,714

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

  • The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center Science Park Flow Cytometry and Cell Imaging Core (Ellen Richie) – $3,693,219

The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

  • Data Science and Informatics Core for Cancer Research (Wenjin Zheng) – $5,846,383

Recruitment of Established Investigators Awards – One grant totaling $6 million

  • Carlos Arteaga, MD, Recruitment to The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine – $6,000,000

Recruitment of First-Time, Tenure-Track Faculty Members Awards – 10 grants totaling $20 million

  • Jeffrey Woodruff, PhD, Recruitment to The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center from Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics – $2,000,000
  • Bo Li, PhD, Recruitment to The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute & Harvard School of Public Health – $2,000,000
  • Jun Wu, PhD, Recruitment to The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center from Salk Institute for Biological Studies – $2,000,000
  • Daniel Dickinson, PhD, Recruitment to The University of Texas at Austin from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – $2,000,000
  • Kuang-Lei Tsai, PhD, Recruitment to The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston from The Scripps Research Institute – $2,000,000
  • Daehwan Kim, PhD, Recruitment to The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center from McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine – $2,000,000
  • Todd Aguilera, MD, PhD, Recruitment to The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center from Stanford University – $2,000,000
  • Dustin Hancks, PhD, Recruitment to The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center from University of Utah, School of Medicine – $2,000,000
  • Siyuan Zheng, PhD, Recruitment to The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio from University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center – $2,000,000
  • Ping Mu, PhD, Recruitment to The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center – $2,000,000

AWARDED PREVENTION GRANTS

Colorectal Cancer Prevention Coalition Awards – One grant totaling $2.3 million

The University of Texas at Austin

  • Improving Colorectal Cancer Screening in Vulnerable Populations in Travis County (Michael Pignone) – $2,292,971

Tobacco Control and Lung Cancer Screening Awards – One grant totaling $1.3 million

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio

  • Mobile Cessation Services for Young Adult Rural, Low-Income, and Spanish-Speaking Smokers (Amelie Ramirez) – $1,302,641

About The University of Texas System
Educating students, providing care for patients, conducting groundbreaking basic, applied and clinical research, and serving the needs of Texans and the nation for more than 130 years, The University of Texas System is one of the largest public university systems in the United States. With 14 institutions and an enrollment of more than 228,000 students, the UT System confers more than one-third of the state’s undergraduate degrees, educates approximately two-thirds of the state’s health care professionals annually and accounts for almost 70 percent of all research funds awarded to public institutions in Texas. The UT System’s operating budget for FY 2017 is $17.9 billion, including $3 billion in sponsored programs funded by federal, state, local and private sources. With more than 20,000 faculty – including Nobel laureates and many members of the National Academies – and nearly 80,000 health care professionals, researchers, student advisors and support staff, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state.

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