(AUSTIN) The governing board of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) took another major step in the fight against cancer by approving over $49 million in new cancer research and prevention grants at its quarterly meeting on Wednesday. Of the 29 grants approved by the Oversight Committee, significant awards included the first CPRIT Scholar award to Southern Methodist University in Dallas, state funding for Baylor Research Institute to join a major National Cancer Institute study, and numerous targeted TREC awards to cancer research centers outside major Texas metropolitan areas.
“Today is a wonderful example of how CPRIT is advancing research innovations and preventing cancer on many fronts,” said Wayne Roberts, CPRIT CEO. “From new research programs, recruitment of preeminent scientists to Texas, pilot studies, new technology, and expanding the reach of successful cancer prevention programs, today’s grants highlight the effect CPRIT is having on not just cancer research and prevention efforts, but on life science infrastructure in Texas.”
The Oversight Committee approved 10 new CPRIT Scholar recruitment grants totaling $23.8 million. The CPRIT Scholars program is an ongoing effort to bring the best and brightest cancer researchers to Texas institutions from around the country. Since 2009, CPRIT has awarded $866 million to bring 295 stellar cancer investigators to Texas.
Today, CPRIT approved the first CPRIT Scholar award to Southern Methodist University in Dallas with a $2 million grant (RR230081) to recruit Annika Wylie, Ph.D. to the university. Dr. Wylie is performing groundbreaking research into the tumor suppressor p53 gene, which is mutated in at least half of all human cancers. How this gene acts to suppress tumor formation is not well understood. Through her identification of novel regulatory effects of p53, Dr. Wylie is poised to make significant contributions to the understanding of cancer biology.
The CPRIT Oversight Committee also approved a $7.5 million grant (RP230426) to Baylor Research Institute in Dallas to fund the Texas CONNECT for Cancer Prevention Study to develop a statewide cohort within the CONNECT study at the National Cancer Institute.
The Texas CONNECT for Cancer study will invite 25,000 Texans to be part of the NCI study that will include 200,000 people across the U.S. to build a large, diverse database to better understand the causes of and how to prevent cancer. By engaging with people and communities who have been under-represented in medical research, the Baylor Scott and White Health System will work with urban, rural, low-income, and minority populations across 46 Texas counties to address a broad range of cancer-related questions to identify social, environmental, behavioral, and genetic factors that underlie cancer risk.
CPRIT awarded nine focused Texas Regional Excellence in Cancer (TREC) awards to institutions in Bryan/College Station, El Paso, Lubbock, McAllen and Waco. CPRIT TREC awards encourage research in areas of the state historically underfunded by national or other cancer research grants.
In El Paso, The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) has received several CPRIT grants since 2011 to study and reduce the disparities of cancer in Hispanics. Today, UTEP got an $850,000 grant to establish an Institutional Postdoctoral Training Program by recruiting outstanding postdoctoral fellows to promote the next generation leaders conducting cancer research, especially in Hispanic cancer disparities.
Additionally, the De Casa en Casa program at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in El Paso (TTUHSC El Paso) received its fourth CPRIT grant in a decade (PP230059) to continue its fight against cervical cancer in El Paso County and 60 rural and border counties in West and South Texas. TTUHSC El Paso also received a $200,000 CPRIT TREC Pilot Study award (RP230444) to study acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a highly aggressive form of cancer resulting in the presence of abnormal blood-forming cells in bone marrow.
BRYAN / COLLEGE STATION
Texas A&M in Bryan/College Station received several grants today, including $996,000 (RP230449) to acquire a high-throughput screening instrument suite in their Drug Discovery Laboratory. This CPRIT-funded instrument suite will enable new research projects to identify small molecule therapeutics for various cancers, such as acute myeloid leukemia, colorectal cancer, prostate cancer, liver cancer, and cancer metastasis. The addition of this instrument suite to the laboratory will make Texas A&M University an innovation leader in cancer therapeutic development. Texas A&M also received a $200,000 CPRIT grant (RP230431) to study a gene therapy with a promising treatment option for liver cancer.
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) in Lubbock received four CPRIT awards today, including three academic research grants and one for a cancer prevention program. A $901,000 grant (RP230447) allows TTUHSC to acquire a state-of-the-art cell sorter to separate cancer cells or non-malignant cells into their various types enabling a myriad of research studies. The university also received two grants totaling $400,000 to conduct pilot studies, and a $997,000 grant for ACTION for Big Country, a cancer screening and prevention program to combat colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancer is the third leading cancer killer in the United States, but one of two cancers that can be prevented through regular screening.
Both the Clinical Trials and the Geographic Diversity Advisory Committees made their annual presentations to the board.
Finally, the Oversight Committee voted to approve new officers for the next two years, choosing Dr. David Cummings (San Angelo) as presiding officer, Cindy Payne (Spring Branch) as vice presiding officer, and Dr. Ambrosio Hernandez (Pharr) as board secretary. For their biographical information, please visit here: https://www.cprit.texas.gov/oversight-committee/
Once processed, video of the meeting will be available here: http://meeting.cprit.texas.gov
Created by the Texas Legislature and approved by a statewide vote in 2007, the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) leads 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 more than $3 billion in grants to Texas research institutions and organizations through its academic research, prevention, and product development research programs. CPRIT has also recruited 295 distinguished researchers to Texas, supported the establishment, expansion, or relocation of 56 companies to Texas, and supported 9 million prevention services reaching all 254 counties in Texas.
The Governor, the Lieutenant Governor and the Speaker of the House appoint the members of the Oversight Committee. The board 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, organization, and companies throughout the state.
AUGUST 16, 2023
CPRIT SCHOLARS (RECRUITMENT)
RR230040 Baylor College of Medicine (Houston) $2,000,000
Recruitment of Graham Erwin, Ph.D.
RR230042 Baylor College of Medicine (Houston) $2,000,000
Recruitment of Michael Robertson, DrPH
RR230050 The University of Texas at Austin $2,000,000
Recruitment of Zunlong Ke, Ph.D.
RR230052 Baylor College of Medicine (Houston) $2,000,000
Recruitment of Varun Venkataramani, M.D., Ph.D.
RR230053 The University of Texas at Dallas (Richardson) $1,800,000
Recruitment of Chen Cao, Ph.D.
RR230054 The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (Dallas) $2,000,000
Recruitment of Xiaofeng Qi, Ph.D.
RR230066 The University of Texas at Austin $2,000,000
Recruitment of Qian Yin, Ph.D.
RR230072 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (Houston) $2,000,000
Recruitment of Simon Eschweiler, Ph.D.
RR230078 The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio $6,000,000
Recruitment of Simon Gayther, Ph.D.
RR230081 Southern Methodist University (Dallas) $2,000,000
Recruitment of Annika Wylie, Ph.D.
RP230426 Baylor Research Institute (Dallas) $7,499,998
Baylor Scott and White Health Texas Connect for Cancer Prevention Cohort
RP230431 Texas A&M University (College Station) $200,000
Unraveling the Therapeutic Potential of Osr1 Overexpression in Hepatocellular Carcinoma Management
RP230443 Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (Lubbock) $200,000
“Click” Assembled Colloidal Molecules with Tunable Plasmon Bands as Novel Agents for Photothermal Tumor Therapy
RP230444 Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center at El Paso $200,000
A Role for PSMD2, PSMD7, and PSMD9 in Drug Resistance of Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)
RP230445 Baylor University (Waco) $997,701
Core Imaging Instrumentation for Cancer Studies in Rodent Models: Acquisition of an IVIS Spectrum/Quantum GX2 optical/microCT Small Animal Imaging System
RP230446 The University of Texas at El Paso $850,000
UTEP Postdoctoral Career Transition Program in Cancer Research
RP230447 Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (Lubbock) $901,225
Fluorescence-Activated Cell Sorting: FACSAria Fusion
RP230449 Texas A&M University (College Station) $995,767
The acquisition of an instrument suite to set up a high-throughput screening core at Texas A&M University
RP230451 Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (Lubbock) $200,000
The Role of Renal Lipotoxicity in Carcinogenesis
RP230454 The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (McAllen) $200,000
Role of transcription factor UBTF in pancreatic cancer
PP230003 University of Houston $448,835
Taking Texas Tobacco Free: Dissemination to and Implementation within Centers Serving Texans who Identify as LGBTQ+
PP230030 Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (Lubbock) $997,266
ACTION for Big Country
PP230056 The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston $2,499,207
Continuation and expansion of a highly successful postpartum HPV vaccination program
PP230059 Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center at El Paso $2,499,437
De Casa en Casa 4: Cervical Cancer Screening in Underserved Rural and Border Communities throughout West and South Texas.
PP230060 The University of Texas at Austin $3,000,000
Coordinating Center for Colorectal Cancer Screening Across Texas (CONNECT)
PP230061 The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio $999,999
Expansion of HPV Vaccination Among Survivors of Childhood Cancer
PP230069 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (Houston) $448,654
Dissemination of the Active Living After Cancer Program
PP230074 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (Houston) $1,999,989
Active Living After Cancer: Combining a Physical Activity Program with Survivor Navigation
PP230078 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (Houston) $449,776
Implementation and Dissemination of an Evidence-Based Intervention to Increase Tobacco Treatment Capacity in Opioid Treatment Programs