(AUSTIN) — The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) announced 74 new cancer research and prevention grants totaling over $112,768,740. The projects approved today include 65 academic research grant awards, seven prevention awards, and two product development research awards granted to 16 institutions and companies across the state. These awards will expand access to clinical trials, incubate innovative cancer research, support the state’s emerging biotechnology industry, provide needed cancer screenings for underserved Texans and recruit outstanding cancer researchers to Texas.

“The grants awarded today illustrate the broad spectrum of CPRIT’s impact in the fight against cancer,” explained Wayne Roberts, CPRIT’s Chief Executive Officer. “From recruitment awards bringing topflight researchers to Texas, continued investment in cancer prevention and screening programs across the state and supporting cancer-fighting innovation in early-stage companies, Texas just took another major step forward in becoming a national leader in conquering cancer.”

Among the grants CPRIT’s Oversight Committee awarded today are seven grants for a total of $9.7 million to advance prevention, detection, or treatment of childhood and adolescent cancer. Approximately 2,000 Texas children are diagnosed every year with cancer and through CPRIT, Texas has invested over $308 million in childhood cancer research over the last 11 years ­­­-- three times more than the national commitment.

Of particular interest is a $2 million grant to Dr. Courtney DiNardo at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center for an intriguing clinical trial to investigate new treatments for Acute Myeloid Leukemia, a deadly disease which has seen little clinical advancement over the past several decades.

Today’s action by the Oversight Committee also furthered vital cancer prevention and screening across the state, including expansion of very successful prevention programs like the Passport for Care that works to reduce the unusually high cancer recidivism in childhood cancer survivors. Hospitals and clinics have adopted the Passport program worldwide and enrolled over 45,000 childhood cancer survivors to date.

Through the CPRIT Product Development program, the Oversight Committee approved a $3 million seed grant for Ares Immunotherapy, an early-stage biopharma company coming to Houston from Cartersville, Georgia – the first CPRIT-related company brought from that state. Ares proposes to prepare for a first-in-human clinical trial in mesothelioma, a rare and deadly cancer most frequently associated with previous exposure to asbestos.

Finally, CPRIT’s Oversight Committee approved six new CPRIT scholar recruitment grants totaling almost $24 million. The CPRIT Scholar program gives the state an undisputed competitive edge by recruiting the most innovative minds in cancer research to come to Texas institutions and continue their work.

One of the major successes of today’s awards is the recruitment of internationally renowned Dr. Reuben Harris to the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio from the University of Minnesota. Dr. Harris will be appointed as the Ewing Halsell President’s Council Distinguished Chair and will also serve as the new Chair in the Department of Biochemistry and Structural Biology (BSB). As Chair, he will recruit ten new faculty and double the size of the program, establishing a novel drug development effort at UTHSCSA.

To highlight the global reach of CPRIT, Dr. Vanderlei Bagnato has been approved for a nearly $6 million recruitment grant to come to the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station from the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil – the first scholar recruited from South America. 

“With vision and continued commitment, Texas is poised to take health research and technology leadership away from the East and West Coasts,” said Roberts. “The state’s diverse and talented workforce and entrepreneurial culture position Texas to be uniquely ready to tackle the biggest health research and technology challenges facing our country.”

CPRIT has also recently released its 2021 Annual Report.  The 2021 Annual Report highlights the eleventh – and exceptional -- year of cancer research and prevention awards made in service of CPRIT’s historical three-part mission to invest in Texas’ research prowess, create and expand life science infrastructure across the state, and expedite innovation in cancer research and prevention strategies.

The 2021 Annual Report can be viewed here: https://2021annualreport.cprit.texas.gov/


To date, CPRIT has awarded $3.0 billion in grants to Texas research institutions and organizations through its academic research, prevention and product development research programs. CPRIT has recruited 263 distinguished researchers, supported the establishment, expansion or relocation of 44 companies to Texas and generated over $7.5 billion in additional public and private investment.

CPRIT funding has advanced scientific and clinical knowledge and provided 7.8 million life-saving cancer prevention and early detection services reaching Texans from all 254 counties. On November 5, 2019, Texas voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment to provide an additional $3 billion to CPRIT for a total $6 billion investment in cancer research and prevention.

Learn more at https://cprit.texas.gov/. Follow CPRIT on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

See the list below for all grants awarded.


Individual Investigator Research Awards

Baylor College of Medicine

  • RP220329 ESR1-Mutant Receptor Reliance on the Cell Cycle Checkpoint Sensitizes Tumors to Chk1 and PARP1 Inhibition (Fuqua, Suzanne) $900,000
  • RP220332 Targeting Methylation-Mediated Mitotic Fragility in ccRCC (Dere, Ruhee) $1,049,994
  • RP220524 Development of Next-Generation Estrogen Receptor-Mutant Inhibitors for Endocrine-Resistant Metastatic Breast Cancer (Palaniappan, Murugesan) $769,179
  • RP220480 RIP PROTACs as a Novel Immunotherapy Sensitizer to Treat Colorectal Cancer (Wang, Jin) $1,050,000
  • RP220468 EIF4A is a New Therapeutic Vulnerability in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer (Rosen, Jeffrey) $949,208

Rice University

  • RP220518 Magnetic Nanocluster-Based Heating and Free Radical Generation for Cancer Therapy (Bao, Gang) $1,024,254

The University of Texas at Austin

  • RP220532 POSTCare-O: Survivorship Care for Women Living With Ovarian Cancer (Kvale, Elizabeth) $1,016,168
  • RP220330 Decoding Bromodomain Chromatin Reader Protein Mechanisms in DNA repair and Replication: Implications for Cancer (Miller, Kyle) $1,050,000

The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

  • RP220169 Simultaneous Targeting of LGR4/5/6 for the Treatment of Gastrointestinal Cancer (Liu, Qingyun) $1,050,000
  • RP220204 Quantitative NIRFLI Scanning of Lymphatic Dysfunction in Head and Neck Cancer Patients for Early Diagnosis of Cancer-Acquired Lymphedema (Rasmussen, John) $886,095
  • RP220120 Enhancing the Effects of Peptide-Receptor Radionuclide Therapy With a Tumor-Targeted Radiosensitizer (Azhdarinia, Ali) $1,048,533

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio

  • RP220470 Overcoming Liver Toxicity of Anti-CD137 Cancer Immunotherapy (Tumanov, Alexei) $969,471
  • RP220267 Organelle Communication During Transition From Fatty Liver to Hepatocellular Carcinoma (Morita, Masahiro) $1,050,000
  • RP220269 MiR223-3p Suppression of BRCA1-Mutant Oncogenesis (Hromas, Robert) $889,587

The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center

  • RP220391 Identification of Oncogenic Mechanisms Driving Lung Squamous Cell Carcinoma Development and Progression (Mazur, Pawel) $997,500
  • RP220096 Evolution of Small Cell Lung Cancer From the Normal Airway (Scheet, Paul) $1,049,739
  • RP220313 Imaging Metabolic Reprogramming in Prostate Cancer (Pisaneschi, Federica) $1,050,000
  • RP220364 KRAS Mutation-Induced KDM5D Upregulation Promotes Male-Specific Colorectal Cancer Metastasis (DePinho, Ronald) $1,049,997
  • RP220258 Study AMPK in Ferroptosis Regulation: Mechanisms and Preclinical Translation (Gan, Boyi) $1,050,000
  • RP220344 Combination Therapy for Treatment of Sleep Disturbance in Patients With Advanced Cancer (Yennu, Sriram) $1,048,484
  • RP220270 Developing Imaging Biomarkers for Immunotherapy Resistance In Vivo (Bhattacharya, Pratip) $1,050,000
  • RP220366 Automated Image Quality Assessment for AI Applications in Cancer Treatment (Court, Laurence) $1,037,267
  • RP220101 Single-Cell Decoding of Spatiotemporal and Ecological Evolution in Early-Stage KRAS-Mutant Lung Cancer (Kadara, Humam) $1,045,543
  • RP220410 Mechanisms and Therapies Focused on Epigenomic Alterations in Therapy-Resistant Prostate Cancers (Rai, Kunal) $1,049,532
  • RP220041 Strategies for Agitated Delirium in Palliative Care for Patients With Cancer (Hui, David) $1,020,236
  • RP220416 Therapeutic Approaches for TGF-Beta-Enriched Minimal Residual Disease in Patients With Colorectal Cancer (Morris, Van) $1,050,000
  • RP220292 i-SINFOP: Integrative Systems-Scale Interrogation of Neomorphic Fusion OncoProteins (Sahni, Nidhi) **$900,000
  • RP220051 IRE-Based Rational Combination for Effective PDAC Immunotherapy (Li, Chun) $1,050,000

The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

  • RP220312 Interrogating and Targeting Altered Cellular Metabolism in Hürthle Cell Carcinoma of the Thyroid (McFadden, David) $1,049,997
  • RP220325 Loss of Site-Specific ADP-Ribosylation of Oncohistones in Cancers (Kraus, W. Lee) $1,027,464
  • RP220492 Mechanisms of Melanoma Metastasis (Morrison, Sean) $1,045,100
  • RP220046 Dissect and Disable Altered Tryptophan Metabolism in MYC-Driven Tumors (Conacci Sorrell, Maralice) $1,049,997
  • RP220150 Turn On Antitumor Immunity in Metastatic Cancers (Gao, Jinming) $1,048,518
  • RP220242 Tumor Immune Evasion Through Transactivation of STING-Mediated T-Cell Death (Yan, Nan) $1,049,997
  • RP220375 Role of Mobile DNA Elements in Leukemia Stem Cells (Xu, Jian) $1,049,997
  • RP220337 Understanding Rewired Intracellular Metabolism in Acute Myeloid Leukemia (Xu, Jian) $1,049,997
  • RP220309 The Role of Ribosomal RNA Modification in Oncogene-Induced Senescence and Tumorigenesis (Mendell, Joshua) $1,050,000
  • RP220178 Targeting Isocitrate Dehydrogenase Wild-Type Glioblastoma by a Synthetic Lethal Approach (Luo, Weibo) $1,049,997
  • RP220032 Targeting Immunosuppressive Myeloid Cells in Tumor Microenvironment (Zhang, Chengcheng) $1,049,997
  • RP220145 Structures and Targeting of Membrane-Bound RAS Signalsomes in Cancer (Westover, Kenneth) $1,049,997
  • RP220473 Overcoming the CPS1-Driven Metabolic Reprogramming and Therapy Resistance in Lethal Prostate Cancer (Mu, Ping) $1,049,997
  • RP220201 Determining the Mechanisms Underlying Sarcomatoid Differentiation in Renal Cell Carcinoma (Carroll, Thomas) $1,040,229


Individual Investigator Research Awards for Cancer in Children and Adolescents

Baylor College of Medicine

  • RP220232 Novel Chemical Probes Targeting Critical Protein-Protein Interactions in MLL-Rearranged Leukemia (Song, Yongcheng) $1,400,000
  • RP220218 Role of Germline BRCA Pathway Mutations in Development of Pediatric Cancers (Plon, Sharon) $1,395,083


Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

  • RP220460 Telomere Maintenance Mechanisms as Prognostic Biomarkers and Therapeutic Targets in Neuroblastoma and Rhabdomyosarcoma (Reynolds, Charles) $1,337,179

The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

  • RP220244 AI-Based Conversational Agent for Facilitating Education and Communication About HPV Vaccination in Children and Adolescents (Tao, Cui) $1,397,258


The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center

  • RP220208 Targeting SMARCA4 Mutations in Pediatric Burkitt's Lymphoma (Green, Michael) $1,400,000
  • RP220360 Epigenetic Regulation of Alternative Lengthening of Telomeres (ALT) in Pediatric High-Grade Gliomas (Hu, Jian) $1,399,992

The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

  • RP220235 Dual Function of the PRC2 Complex in Medulloblastoma Development (Wu, Jiang) $1,399,996


Individual Investigator Research Awards for Computational Systems Biology of Cancer

Baylor College of Medicine

  • RP220050 Signaling Network Modeling to Identify New Treatments for Triple-Negative Breast Cancer (Zhang, Bing) $1,200,000

The University of Texas at Austin

  • RP220225 Imaging-Informed, Biophysical Computational Modeling to Forecast Tumor Progression in Gliomas (Hormuth, David) $1,193,238

The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

  • RP220294 Dissecting Intratumor Heterogeneity in Kidney Cancer Using Deep Learning (Rajaram, Satwik) $1,172,136


Individual Investigator Research Awards for Clinical Translation

The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center

  • RP220299 The INTERCEPT Trial (Investigating Novel Therapy to Target Early Relapse and Clonal Evolution as Preemptive Therapy) for Acute Myeloid Leukemia (DiNardo, Courtney) $1,991,960


Individual Investigator Research Awards for Prevention and Early Detection

Baylor College of Medicine

  • RP220119 Novel Metabolomics and Radiomics for Predicting HCC Risk (El-Serag, Hashem) $1,995,127
  • RP220127 Optimizing Population Selection for Primary (Helicobacter pylori Screening) and Secondary (Endoscopic Screening and Surveillance) Prevention of Gastric Cancer (Thrift, Aaron) $1,920,700

The University of Texas at Austin

  • RP220203 Brief Computer MI to Motivate Sustained Tobacco Cessation Following Psychiatric Hospital Discharge (Brown, Richard) $1,631,524

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio

  • RP220137 Implementation of Cancer Screening in Children and Adolescents Genetically at High Risk of Cancer (Tomlinson, Gail) $1,954,748

The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center

  • RP220021 Monitoring of Field Effects for the Detection of Bladder Cancer (Czerniak, Bogdan) $1,993,172

The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston

  • RP220011 A Randomized, Controlled Trial Comparing the Immunogenicity of 2 doses vs 3 doses of the 9-Valent HPV Vaccine in Females 27 to 45 Years of Age (Berenson, Abbey) $1,986,984



RR220053 Reuben Harris, Ph.D. - The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio from University of Minnesota  $6,000,000

RR220054 Vanderlei Bagnato, Ph.D. Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station from University of Sao Paulo, Brazil $5,999,721

RR220038 Christopher Chad Quarles, Ph.D.  The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center from St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center  $6,000,000

RR220036 Alison Fout, Ph.D.  Texas A&M University from University of Illinois Urbana/Champaign $1,999,661

RR220039  Zhi Tan, M.D., Ph.D.  Baylor College of Medicine $2,000,000

RR220032  Marian Kalocsay, Ph.D.  The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center Harvard Medical School $2,000,000



Expansion of Cancer Prevention Services to Rural and Medically Underserved Populations

Baylor College of Medicine

  • PP220017 Leveraging Passport for Care to Reduce Childhood Cancer Survivorship Outcome Disparities in the Rio Grande Valley (Gramatges, Maria) $983,276

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

  • PP220006 Access to Breast and Cervical Care for West Texas (ABC24WT) – Maintenance and COG-9 Expansion (Layeequr Rahman, Rakhshanda) $2,499,999

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

  • PP220005 Alliance for Colorectal Cancer Testing 3.0 (ACT 3.0) (Foxhall,Lewis) $2,500,000

Texas A&M University System Health Science Center

  • PP220013 Leveraging Texas C-STEP’s Robust Rural Partnerships for Successful Expansion of its Proven Colorectal Cancer Screening Program to Include HCV Screening (McKnight, Jason) $2,499,968

The Rose

  • PP220015 Empower Her to Care Expansion (FY2022 – FY2023): Increasing Access to Breast Cancer Screening and the Continuum of Care for Underserved Texas Women (Duckworth, Jessica) $1,999,245

The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

  • PP220022 Liver Cancer Prevention Among Those with Experiences of Homelessness: An Expansion to Low-Income Housing in South Texas (Schick, Vanessa)  $1,959,205

Texas Health Institute

  • PP220025 A Mixed-Methods Evaluation of the CPRIT Prevention Program: Measuring the Reach and Impact of 10 Years of Investment (Chiang, Rachelle) $748,236



Ares Immunotherapy, Inc.

  • DP220016 CD4+CD26high CAR-T Cells for the Treatment of Mesothelioma   $2,998,266

Iterion Therapeutics, Inc.

  • DP220019 Development of a Second-Generation Transducin Beta-like Protein 1 (TBL1) $2,999,995


# # #