MD Anderson receives $22 million in CPRIT funding for research, recruitment and training

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center this week was awarded $22 million from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT), receiving 24 percent of the total $93 million awarded. The MD Anderson awards included $990,905 for early translational research, $8.9 million for individual investigator research, $6 million for research training and $6 million for recruitment of an established investigator.

Since its inception, CPRIT has distributed $1.67 billion for cancer research, of which MD Anderson has received 18 percent. The agency began making awards in 2009 after Texas voters overwhelmingly approved a 2007 constitutional amendment committing $3 billion to the fight against cancer.  

“I am thankful for  CPRIT’s substantive awards, which are testament to the important research and patient care that has been key to MD Anderson’s success throughout  its 75 years of serving the patients of Texas and beyond,” said Ronald A. DePinho, M.D., president, MD Anderson. “This funding is vital to our mission of ending cancer and will allow us to continue pursuing ground-breaking discoveries and new solutions for cancer treatment for future generations.”

CPRIT has awarded grants to Texas researchers, institutions, non-profits and private enterprises and provides funding through its research, scientific and product development and prevention programs. Programs made possible with CPRIT funding have reached every corner of the state, brought more than 110 distinguished researchers to Texas, advanced scientific and clinical knowledge, and provided more than 3 million life-saving education, training, prevention and early detection services to Texans.

“The awards announced today reflect CPRIT’s effort to grow the cancer-fighting ecosystem at our institutions of higher education and the Texas-based life sciences industry,” said Wayne Roberts, CPRIT chief executive officer. “We continue to maintain our momentum in attracting the world’s best minds in cancer research to Texas.”

MD Anderson’s CPRIT awards included:

Early Translational Research:

  • Oncolytic Immunotherapy for Gliomas and Cancer Metastases in the Era of
    Checkpoint Regulation (Juan Fueyo, M.D., Neuro-Oncology) – $990,905

Individual Investigator Research:

  • Biodegradable nanoclusters for molecular cancer imaging
    (Konstantin Sokolov, Ph.D., Imaging Physics) – 899,553
  • Targeting The Glycolysis Pathway To Overcome Resistance To Cancer Immunotherapy
    (Patrick Hwu, M.D., Cancer Medicine) – $900,000
  • Identifying vulnerabilities in mutant p53 driven tumorigenesis
    (Guillermina Lozano, Ph.D., Genetics) – $869,197
  • Exploiting DNA repair defects using intensity modulated proton therapy
    (Gabriel Sawakuchi, Ph.D., Radiation Physics) – $899,889                    
  • Elimination of hypoxia sensitizes resistant solid tumors to immunotherapy
    (Michael Curran, Ph.D., Immunology) – $899,993
  • Regulation of 53BP1 by novel 53BP1-binding proteins in DNA repair
    (Junjie Chen, Ph.D., Experimental Radiation Oncology) – $900,000
  • Palbociclib synergizes with autophagy inhibitors to induce senescence in breast cancer
    (Khandan Keyomarsi, Ph.D., Experimental Radiation Oncology) – $900,000
  • Biomarker-based treatment of poor prognostic mesenchymal subtype in gastric cancer
    (Ju-Seog Lee, Ph.D., Systems Biology) – $893,875
  • Optimizing Chemoradiation Strategies by Tumor Metabolism Interrogation
    (Stephen Lai, M.D., Ph.D., Head and Neck Surgery) – $899,996
  • Developing Effective Immunotherapeutic Strategies for Advanced Uveal Melanoma
    (Scott Woodman, M.D., Ph.D., Melanoma Medical Oncology) – $899,507

Research Training:

  • The Future of Cancer Research: Training Program for Basic and Translational Scientists
    (Khandan Keyomarsi, Ph.D., Experimental Radiation Oncology) – $4 million
  • CPRIT Cancer Prevention Research Training Program
    (Shine Chang, Ph.D., Epidemiology) – $2,071,403

Recruitment of Established Investigators: $6 million