(AUSTIN) The governing board of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) took a major step forward in the fight against cancer by approving over $90 million in new cancer research and prevention grants at its quarterly meeting near the Texas Capitol on Wednesday. The slate of forty projects from across Texas fund a wide range of innovative research and prevention efforts at major research hubs like Dallas, San Antonio, and Houston, but also invests in rapidly developing cancer research programs in El Paso and the Rio Grande Valley.
“Today’s grants are an illustration of how CPRIT is fulfilling the original promise made to Texans at our founding,” said CPRIT CEO Wayne Roberts. “From recruitment and prevention grants to boosting the development of cancer research in critical areas of Texas, today’s awards strengthen Texas’s position as a national leader in cancer research.”
The Oversight Committee awarded $18 million in Texas Regional Excellence in Cancer (TREC) awards to The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) in McAllen, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in El Paso, and Texas A&M University System Health Science Center in Bryan. CPRIT established the TREC award to strengthen cancer research at institutions located far away from the major research hubs in Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio.
A $6 million grant to UTRGV (RP230419) will support the South Texas Center of Excellence in Cancer Research, the first CPRIT-supported cancer research center in the region. The Center’s focus is reducing cancer health disparities in the border region, which has the nation’s highest cancer incidence and mortality rate and, consequently, bears a disproportionate share of the cancer burden.
“In supporting the regional expansion of research efforts through our TREC awards,” said Roberts, “CPRIT made a strong statement today that whether the institution is located in Houston or El Paso, Dallas or McAllen, all areas of Texas contribute to making the Lone Star State a national leader in the fight against cancer.”
The board also approved almost $7 million in grants focused primarily on fighting cancer in children and adolescents. CPRIT has invested over $364 million in childhood and adolescent cancer research – proportionally more than 3 times the national commitment.
For example, today CPRIT awarded Dr. Melanie Bernhart and Baylor College of Medicine a $1.4 million grant (RP230026) to improve treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in children. Latino children are more likely to be diagnosed with ALL, and unfortunately are also more likely to have severe side effects from the medicines used to treat this cancer. This grant will examine the disparity in these side effects for Latino children with the goal of new treatments to improve survival and increase quality of life.
The Oversight Committee also approved five new recruitment grants totaling approximately $18 million to continue to bring the best and brightest cancer researchers to Texas from around the country. The CPRIT Scholars program has awarded $819 million since 2009 to bring 288 stellar cancer investigators to Texas from all over the country – and in the case of today’s award, the globe.
CPRIT awarded a $2 million grant to Houston Methodist Research Institute to bring Dr. Ewan McRae from Cambridge University, England to Texas. Dr. McRae is an accomplished young scientist focused on RNA biology, a new frontier in cancer research.
The Prevention Advisory Committee and the Advisory Committee on Childhood Cancers also presented their annual report at the meeting.
The CPRIT Oversight Committee also recognized Kassidy Buth, representing Travis County Emergency Service District 12, which created a “Fired Up For A Cure” T-shirt to raise money for CPRIT and cancer research.
After processing, the video of the meeting will be available here: http://meeting.cprit.texas.gov
For post-meeting interviews with CPRIT leadership, Oversight Committee members or other participants, please contact Mark Loeffler at 737.212.3753 or 512.517.8669.
The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) was created by the Texas Legislature and approved by a statewide vote in 2007 to lead the Lone Star State’s fight against cancer. In 2019, Texas voters again voted overwhelmingly to support CPRIT with an additional $3 billion for a total $6 billion investment in cancer research and prevention.
To date, the agency has awarded over $3 billion in grants to Texas research institutions and organizations through its academic research, prevention, and product development research programs. CPRIT has also recruited more than 288 distinguished researchers to Texas, supported the establishment, expansion, or relocation of 51 companies to Texas, and supported more than 8.2 million prevention services reaching all 254 counties in Texas.
The Oversight Committee is composed of appointees from the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor and the Speaker of the House and meets at least once every quarter to set the priorities for the agency as well as vote on proposed, peer-reviewed cancer research and prevention grants to institutions throughout the state.
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CPRIT RECRUITMENT AWARDS ▪ FEBRUARY 15, 2023
Sorted by Institution
(* denotes prevention grant)
BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE
RP230026 Melanie Bernhardt Baylor College of Medicine $1,392,407
Identifying Clinical Methotrexate Toxicity Phenotypes Across Phases of Pediatric Leukemia Therapy
RP230120 Pavel Sumazin Baylor College of Medicine $1,371,733
Clonal evolution and chemoresistance of Hepatoblastomas with hepatocellular carcinoma features
RP230285 Xi Chen Baylor College of Medicine $2,000,000
Harnessing Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress to Overcome Resistance to Immunotherapy in Immune-cold Breast Cancer
RP230391 Maksim Mamonkin Baylor College of Medicine $1,050,000
Understanding and improving CAR T-cell therapy of T-ALL and LBL
TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY
RP230345 Wenshe Liu Texas A&M University $1,050,000
The Development of Reversible Chemogenetic Switches for Chimeric Antigen Receptor T Cell Therapy
Texas A&M University System Health Science Center
RP230063 Robert Tsai Texas A&M University System Health Science Center $2,000,000
Whole Genome DNA Methylation Markers for Tracking and Predicting Advanced Liver Fibrosis as a Precursor of Liver Cancer in NAFLD
RP230204 Kenneth Ramos Texas A&M University System Health Science Center $5,998,422
Gene – environment - lifestyle interactions in cancer
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center at El Paso
RP230420 Rajkumar Lakshmanaswamy Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center at El Paso $6,000,000
Impacting Cancer Outcomes in Hispanics (ICOHN)
RR230015 Ewan McRae The Methodist Hospital Research Institute $1,999,977
Recruitment of First-Time, Tenure-Track Faculty Members
The University of Texas at Austin
RP230334 Seongmin Lee The University of Texas at Austin $1,050,000
Elucidating the mutagenesis mechanism of BRAF in melanoma
The University of Texas at Dallas
RR230018 Rudi Fasan The University of Texas at Dallas $6,000,000
Recruitment of Established Investigators
The University of Texas at San Antonio
RP230360 Douglas Frantz The University of Texas at San Antonio $1,049,128
Rational design, synthesis and biological evaluation of simplified taccalonolide analogs for the treatment of cancer
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
PP230018* Belinda Reininger The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston $999,254
Implementation and Evaluation of an Evidence-Based Multilevel Lifestyle Intervention for Underserved/Rural Populations in South Texas: Tu Salud ¡Si Cuenta!
PP230033* Paula Cuccaro The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston $449,959
All for Them Texas: A multifaceted dissemination and implementation approach to increase HPV vaccination
PP230038* Lara Savas The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston $2,499,492
Salud en Mis Manos (SEMM): An Evidence-Based Breast & Cervical Cancer Early Detection and Prevention Program for Underserved Latinas.
RP230222 Chao Hsing Yeh The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston $1,046,680
Personalized Auricular Point Acupressure to Self-Manage Cancer-Related Pain
RR230020 Hongfang Liu The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston $6,000,000
Recruitment of Established Investigators
The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
RP230117 Patricia Chalela The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio $1,992,330
Randomized Controlled Trial to Assess Innovative Smoking Cessation Services for Young Adults in Texas
RR230019 Lu Wang The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio $2,000,000
Recruitment of First-Time, Tenure Track Faculty Members
The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
RP230018 Die Zhang The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center $1,399,730
Neuronal Alterations in the Midbrain Dopaminergic System Function: A Novel Mechanism of Radiation Induced Cognitive Dysfunction
RP230036 Kelly Nelson The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center $1,998,196
Geospatial Approaches to Melanoma Early Detection – The GAMED Project
RP230050 Wantong Yao The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center $1,049,854
A Novel Therapeutic Strategy Targeting Pancreatic Cancer
RP230072 Boyi Gan The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center $1,050,000
Studying and therapeutically targeting ferroptosis liability in BRCA1 deficient cancer
RP230093 Joseph McCarty The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center $1,050,000
Targeting the Mlc1-GlialCAM Protein Complex in Invasive Glioma Cells
RP230135 Michael Curran The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center $1,049,905
Blocking DNA damage response induction of “don’t eat me” signals converts local radiotherapy into systemic immunotherapy
RP230154 Jian Hu The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center $1,400,000
Normalizing membrane homeostasis in microglia/macrophages of pediatric high-grade gliomas
RP230160 Eleonora Dondossola The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center $1,025,623
Overcoming therapy resistance by integrated computational modeling of the bone metastatic niche in prostate and renal cancers
RP230166 Peng Wei The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center $1,199,994
Integrative modeling of spatially resolved multi-omics data to identify bladder cancer mucosal field effects
RP230213 Robert J Volk The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center $1,988,211
Multi-component Interventions to Improve Uptake and Adherence to Lung Cancer Screening
RP230224 Cullen Taniguchi The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center $1,049,997
Enhancing Immune Responses in Pancreatic Cancer by Stromal Inhibition of HIF2
RP230247 Sue-Hwa Lin The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center $1,050,000
A novel combination therapeutic approach to revitalizing immunotherapy for bone metastatic prostate cancer
RP230271 Niki Zacharias Millward The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center $1,019,997
Targeting distinct metabolic vulnerabilities of aggressive renal cell carcinoma variants
RP230373 Andrea Viale The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center $1,049,985
Mapping the geospatial tumor clonal architecture to restore immune recognition in pancreatic cancer.
RR230012 Kenneth Hu The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center $2,000,000
Recruitment of First-Time, Tenure-Track Faculty Members
The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
PP230043* Ana Rodriguez The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston $2,257,898
School-based Human Papillomavirus Vaccination Program in the Rio Grande Valley: Continuation and Expansion in Hidalgo, Cameron, and Willacy Counties
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
RP230419 Subhash Chauhan The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley $6,000,000
South Texas Center of Excellence in Cancer Research (ST-CECR)
The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
PP230013* Keith E Argenbright The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center $2,500,000
Community Expansion and Re-engagement for Breast Cancer Screening and Patient Navigation
PP230041* David Gerber The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center $1,922,312
PP190052 - Integrated lung cancer screening and tobacco cessation in an urban safety-net system
PP230046* Mamta Jain The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center $2,499,616
Screen, Treat, or Prevent (STOP) Hepatocellular Cancer-Hepatitis C (HCC-HCV): Expansion to All Adults
RP230109 Lance S Terada The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center $1,049,994
Autophagy and Tumor Endothelium
RP230140 Rodney Infante The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center $1,050,000
Changes in Tumor Microenvironment that Promote Cachexia
RP230261 Zhenyu Zhong the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center $1,049,997
Investigating the mechanism of NLRP3 inflammasome hyperactivation during hepatocellular carcinoma development
RP230330 Guanghua Xiao The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center $1,303,815
Integrate whole slide imaging and genomic data to study pediatric rhabdomyosarcoma
RP230344 Samuel McBrayer The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center $1,048,465
Development and evaluation of lanosterol synthase inhibitors in preclinical GBM models
RP230363 Tao Wang The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center $1,199,997
Developing knowledge guided deep learning models to predict the binding between T cell receptors and neoantigens for facilitating TCR-T therapies
RP230382 Ram S Mani The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center $1,049,641
Characterization of 3D Genome Organization and Transcriptional Regulation in Prostate Cancer
The University of Houston
PP230002* Lorraine Reitzel University of Houston $448,726
Taking Texas Tobacco Free: Dissemination to and Implementation within Lung Cancer Screening Programs
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