• For Immediate Release
    May 20, 2015 - AUSTIN, TX
  • For more information, contact
    Chris Cutrone 512-305-8483

Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas Awards 41 New Grants

The awards invest more than $89 million in Texas across academic research, prevention and product development research in the fight against cancer

The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) today awarded 28 grants through its academic research program, 11 grants through its prevention program and two grants through its product development research program.

The academic research grants, totaling approximately $60 million, include nearly $31 million for six Core Facilities Support Awards, which help establish or enhance research facilities to bolster scientifically meritorious cancer research projects. The High-Impact/High-Risk grants will contribute major new insights and ideas into the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of cancers. The Multi-Investigator awards will focus on critical areas of cancer research, translating scientific discoveries into tools and applications that have the potential to make a significant impact on cancer. Additional research grants help support the recruitment of cancer scientists to academic institutions in Texas, including a distinguished senior researcher and three promising investigators.

The prevention awards, totaling around $20.6 million, support prevention services for underserved populations in Texas. The Evidence-Based service and coalition projects receiving grants will focus on preventing colorectal, breast, cervical and liver cancer through screening, education and clinical services. The Competitive Continuation grants will provide support to previously funded projects demonstrating exemplary success, including screening and diagnostic services related to breast, cervical and colorectal cancer.

The product development grants expedite innovation by helping bridge the gap between promising new discoveries in cancer and commercial development. With a total requested amount of approximately $8.5 million, these grants will support oncology-focused research and diagnostic techniques by Texas-based companies.

After undergoing CPRIT’s review process, the grants were recommended by their respective program review councils and approved by the Oversight Committee. To date, CPRIT has awarded approximately $1.33 billion in grants that are helping make advancements in prevention and treatment of cancer possible every day.

See attached for a list of all 41 research, prevention and product development grants awarded.


Core Facilities Support Awards (CFSA) — Six grants totaling $30,949,575

  • The Houston Methodist Research Institute
    • CPRIT Core for RNA Therapeutics and Research – $4,845,868
  • The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
    • Precision Oncology Decision Support Core – $5,999,996
  • The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
    • The Single-Cell Biopsy and Characterization Core (SBCC) at The University of Texas Health Science at San Antonio – $3,277,895
  • The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
    • Therapeutic Monoclonal Antibody Lead Optimization and Development Core – $5,277,338
  • The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
    • Bioinformatics Core Facility at UT Southwestern Medical Center – $5,593,882
  • Texas A&M University Health Science Center
    • The Combinatorial Drug Discovery Program (CDDP) – $5,954,596

High-Impact/High-Risk Research Awards (HIHR) — 16 grants totaling $3,194,510

  • The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
    • Dynamin GTPase: A Novel Pro-Apoptotic Cancer Therapeutic Target – $200,000
    • Acetate May Be a Key Substrate Driving Growth in Early Stage Breast Cancer in Patients – $200,000
    • Identification of Novel Melanoma Metastasis Driver Genes through Transposon-Mediated Mutagenesis – $200,000
    • Identifying Inhibitors of Ascl1 to Block Growth of Malignant Neuroendocrine and Neural Tumors – $200,000
  • Texas A&M Health Science Center
    • Efficient Production of IPSC-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells to Kill Cancers by Bystander Effects from Suicide Genes – $200,000
    • Metabolomic Salivary Biomarkers for Oral Cancer Detection – $199,999
  • The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
    • Inhibition of Breast Cancer Metastasis to the Bone by microRNA Transmission through Gap Junctions – $200,000
    • Turning on a Novel Tumor-Inhibiting Switch for Colorectal Cancer – $200,000
  • Baylor Research Institute
    • Elevated D-2 Hydroxyglutarate Precedes and Promotes Tumor Progression in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases – $200,000
  • Rice University
    • Non-Invasive Colonoscopy by Molecular Imaging of Mucin Targeted Hyperpolarized Silicon Nanoparticles – $200,000
  • Texas A&M University 
    • Small Molecules to Perturb a Novel PPI Target for Chemotherapy – $200,000
  • Texas Tech University
    • Integrated On-Chip Networks for Investigating Exosome-Mediated Drug Expulsion – $200,000
  • Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
    • Engineered Bone Targeting Nanomedicine for Treatment of Bone Metastases from Breast Cancer – $199,970
  • The University of Texas at Arlington
    • Biomechanical Profiling of Migrating Brain Cancer Genotypes in Tightly-Confined Space for Drug Screening – $199,998
  • The University of Texas at Dallas
    • Identification of Therapeutic Targets on Breast Cancer Stem Cells – $194,543
  • The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
    • Drug Conjugates of anti-LGR5 Antibodies as Novel Therapeutics for Destroying Cancer Stem Cells – $200,000

Multi-Investigator Research Awards (MIRA) — Two grants totaling $15,922,336

  • Baylor College of Medicine
    • The Texas Hepatocellular Carcinoma Consortium (THCCC) – $9,771,157
    • GATA2 and Steroid Receptor Coactivator-2 Cooperate with Androgen Receptor in Prostate Cancer Progression and Androgen Resistance – $6,151,179

Recruitment of First-Time, Tenure-Track Faculty Members*:

  • Maralice Conacci-Sorrell, Ph.D., Recruitment to The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center – $2,000,000
  • Andreas Doncic, Ph.D., Recruitment to The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center from Stanford University – $2,000,000
  • Natalia Kirienko, Ph.D., Recruitment to Rice University from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School – $2,000,000

Recruitment of Established Investigators*:

  • Hongtu Zhu, Ph.D., Recruitment to The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – $4,000,000

Zhu is a leading international figure in the fields of biostatistics and big data integration.

*Recruitment grants awarded indicate only approval to negotiate offers; at the time of release candidates have not accepted offers.


Competitive Continuation/Expansion Grants:

  • Angelo State University, Access to Breast and Cervical Care for West Texas (West/Central Texas) (ABCC4WT) – $1,480,898
  • Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Increasing Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening and Diagnostic Rates in Rural, Frontier and Border Counties for Uninsured, Underserved Women – $1,500,000
  • The Rose, Empower Her to Care Expansion: Increasing Access to Breast Cancer Screening and the Continuum of Care for Underserved Texas Women – $1,500,000
  • University Health System, University Health System Evidence-Based Colorectal Cancer Prevention Screening Program – $1,499,775
  • The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, BSPAN3: Breast Screening and Patient Navigation for Rural and Underserved Women across North Texas – $1,499,993

Evidence-Based Cancer Prevention Services:

  • The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Alliance for Colorectal Cancer Testing (ACT) in Southeast Texas – $2,588,774
  • The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, The C-SPAN Coalition: Colorectal Screening and Patient Navigation – $4,800,000

Evidence-Based Prevention Programs:

  • MHP, Inc. Promoviendo Vidas Saludables, Cada Paso del Camino: Outreach, Education, Screening, Health Insurance Navigation, and Linkage to Treatment for Breast, Cervical and Colorectal Cancers – $1,498,337
  • The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, STOP HCC – Evidence-Based Hepatocellular Cancer Prevention Targeting Hepatitis C Virus Infection – $1,488,294
  • The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Media-Rich Mobile Dissemination of a Dysphagia Prevention Program for Head and Neck Cancer Patients during Radiation $1,263,342
  • Val Verde Regional Medical Center, FluFIT on the Frontera: Increasing Colorectal Cancer Screening on the Texas-Mexico Border – $1,500,000


Established Company Product Development:

  • Vermillion, Inc., Development and Validation of a Second-Generation Multivariate Test for Use in Assessing Risk of Ovarian Mass Malignancy – Austin, three years, $7,533,011**

This project develops a next-generation blood test, which will aid in the improved identification and treatment of ovarian cancers in women undergoing surgery for an ovarian mass.

New Company Product Development:

  • Rosellini Scientific, LLC, Wireless Neuromodulation Treatment for Bladder Dysfunction Secondary to Cancer – Dallas, three years, $967,000**

This project develops an implantable neurostimulation device to restore bladder function and improve quality of life for patients suffering from overactive bladder as a result of their cancer therapy.

**Maximum amount to be funded upon successful completion of all milestones

About the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas

Beginning operations in 2009, CPRIT has to date awarded $1.33 billion in grants to Texas researchers, institutions and organizations. CPRIT provides funding through its academic research, prevention and product development research programs. Programs made possible with CPRIT funding have reached all 254 counties of the state, brought more than 80 distinguished researchers to Texas, advanced scientific and clinical knowledge, and provided more than two million life-saving education, training, prevention and early detection services to Texans. Learn more at cprit.state.tx.us.