Supporting World-Class Pediatric Cancer Experts

  • Published: September 18, 2017

Childhood Cancer Researchers

We’re convinced that by bringing together the best and brightest investigators and clinicians, Texas can take the lead in answering the cancer question for kids. In fact, CPRIT scholar recruitment dollars along with research funding have several world-class pediatric cancer experts doing their work in the state. For example:

  • Dr. David Poplack is the Director of the Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers and Deputy Director of Baylor College of Medicine’s Dan L. Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Poplack has authored 357 original articles and book chapters relating to pediatric oncology and developed Passport For Care, an interactive website that addresses the need to provide long-term survivors of childhood cancer and their caregivers with screening guidelines and resources individualized to the survivor’s treatment history.
  • At Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center’s School of Medicine Cancer Center, Dr. C. Patrick Reynolds is focusing his research work on development of drugs that include retinoids, vitamin A derivatives, and on research to identify molecular mechanisms of drug resistance that may provide novel therapeutic targets in childhood cancers.
  • In May 2016, CPRIT awarded $10.9 million to UT Health San Antonio’s Greehey Children’s Cancer Research Institute (CCRI) to support work being done by Dr. Peter Houghton, professor of molecular biology and director of the Institute. Dr. Houghton’s team is using its CPRIT grant to focus on cancer in children and young adults, especially in our Hispanic population of South Texas, a traditionally underrepresented group for standardized cancer treatments.
  • Also at UT Health San Antonio is Dr. Gail Tomlinson who leads the Division of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology at the Greehey CCRI. Dr. Tomlinson’s research interests are in the genetic origins of childhood cancers, particularly liver tumors.
  • In Dallas at the Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern Medical Center, Sean Morrison, Ph.D., is studying the cellular and molecular mechanisms that regulate the function of stem cells and cancer cells in the nervous and hematopoietic systems.
  • In Houston at the Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital, Dr. Malcom Brenner’s primary research is focused on the use of gene transfer to stimulate immune response to tumors using vaccines and genetically modified T cells. He’s taking on childhood leukemia through this research. If childhood cancer is primarily an acquired genetic disorder, Brenner’s work in gene therapy promises to provide effective treatments tailored to the precise genetic structure of each tumor.

Of these notable investigators, CPRIT’s Advisory Committee on Childhood Cancer chair, Dr. Susan Blaney said, "CPRIT funding has served as a catalyst to initiate collaborative efforts across the state of Texas to rapidly tackle some of today’s most difficult challenges in the field of pediatric cancer. In a short period of time, these collective efforts have led to insightful discoveries as well as clinical trials of cutting edge therapies that are a tremendous benefit to children with cancer, not only across the state of Texas but also nationally and internationally. Additionally, CPRIT funding has resulted in the successful recruitment of world-class investigators to the state of Texas."