(AUSTIN) Today the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H), an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), announced that it has selected Dallas, Texas, to serve as one of its three national headquarters. ARPA-H is charged with identifying transformative and broadly accessible solutions to the most challenging health care problems, from cancer, Alzheimer’s and AIDS to equitable health care delivery and cost containment. Washington D.C. and Boston, Massachusetts, will join Dallas as critical national hubs supporting the dynamic needs of ARPA-H programs.

“Texas is a national leader in healthcare research and innovation, solving many of our nation’s—and the world’s—scientific challenges,” said Governor Greg Abbott. “Home to a growing health sciences industry, the Dallas-Fort Worth region is the ideal location for the Advanced Research Project’s Agency for Health’s Customer Experience headquarters. Americans can be assured that Texas will continue to pave the way for critical healthcare research and comprehensive support for years to come.”

“On behalf of CPRIT, I’d like to welcome ARPA-H to Texas: the home of innovation,” said Wayne Roberts, CEO of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT). Since its creation in 2007, CPRIT has led the effort to establish Texas as a national center for cancer research and life science discovery. “Texas has always been the place for bold and original thinking. From landing a man on the moon to finding cures for cancer, Texans take on seemingly impossible scientific challenges and succeed.  Our colleagues at ARPA-H will find that in Texas, the ideas are bigger too.”

Dallas will serve as the headquarters for the “customer experience” hub focused on user testing, adoption, access, and trust of ARPA-H projects. In addition to designing state of the art products and services that people need and want to use, the Texas customer service hub will also take a proactive approach to enhancing clinical trials, reaching representative patient populations, and capturing outcomes data for future research.

“ARPA-H’s decision to locate the customer service hub in Texas is continued validation that the state’s leadership reputation in research, development, and technological innovation is well earned,” stated Roberts.  “In Texas, our companies, universities, and research institutions are steeped in and committed to a culture of transformation and problem solving. The creation and success of CPRIT is an example of that commitment and helped set the stage for today’s announcement.”

Just this week, ARPA-H announced a $45 million cooperative agreement grant to a research team led by CPRIT Scholar Omid Veiseh, a bioengineer at Rice University. Along with his co-investigators, Dr. Veiseh will lead a team of engineers, physicians and multidisciplinary specialists in synthetic biology, materials science, immunology, oncology, electrical engineering, artificial intelligence, and other fields spanning 20 different research labs. The project, dubbed THOR, for  Targeted Hybrid Oncotherapeutic Regulation, will develop a sense-and-respond implant technology called HAMMR (Hybrid Advanced Molecular Manufacturing Regulator)  that could slash U.S. cancer-related deaths by more than 50%. Other Texas institutions involved in this effort include CPRIT grantee institutions MD Anderson and the University of Houston. 

Bringing the ARPA-H customer service hub to Texas culminates a two-year effort by the Coalition for Health Advancement and Research in Texas (CHART), a broad alliance of biotechnology ventures, hospital systems, research institutions and economic development organizations throughout the state.  CPRIT, a founding member of CHART, exemplifies the Lone Star state’s trailblazing commitment to medical advances through its unprecedented $6 billion investment in funding the development of next-generation cancer treatments and cancer prevention efforts in all 254 counties. Significant bipartisan support from the Texas Congressional Delegation was also crucial to today’s success.