AUSTIN - The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) congratulates Zhijian "James" Chen, Ph.D., for receiving the prestigious 2020 William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Basic and Tumor Immunology from the Cancer Research Institute. Dr. Chen is a Professor of Molecular Biology and Director of the Center for Inflammation Research at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. The Coley Award honors seminal discoveries in the fields of basic immunology and tumor immunology that deepen the understanding of the immune system’s response to cancer and advance the development of effective cancer immunotherapies.
"We are proud to count Dr. Chen's work as some of the most important research CPRIT supports," said Wayne Roberts, CPRIT Chief Executive Officer. "The study of immunology and its role in creating more effective immunotherapies is an incredibly promising area of cancer research, and the value of Dr. Chen's contributions are incalculable. On behalf of CPRIT, I extend my warmest congratulations to Dr. Chen on this well-deserved achievement."
The Cancer Research Institute presented the 2020 Coley Award to five individuals for their contributions to the discovery and characterization of the cGAS-STING pathway, an important component of the innate immune system that scientists are using to develop novel immunotherapies against cancer. CPRIT Scholar and 2018 Nobel Laureate James P. Allison, Ph.D., of The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, presented the award to Dr. Chen at the Cancer Research Institute's annual Innovators in Science and Philanthropy Gala on September 29, 2020.
CPRIT has awarded Dr. Chen three research grants since 2010 totaling more than $5 million for his work in immunology. Dr. Chen also received the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences in 2018 for his discovery of the enzyme cGAS.
About the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas
CPRIT has awarded $2.6 billion in grants to Texas research institutions and organizations through its academic research, prevention, and product development research programs. CPRIT has recruited 213 distinguished researchers, supported the establishment, expansion or relocation of 42 companies to Texas, and generated more than $5 billion in additional public and private investment. CPRIT funding has advanced scientific and clinical knowledge and provided 6.6 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 providing an additional $3 billion to CPRIT, for a total $6 billion investment in cancer research and prevention efforts across the state.