MD Anderson Receives $22.3 Million in CPRIT Research Funding

MD Anderson Cancer Center 02/20/2015

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center has received more than $22 million in research grants this week from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT). Approximately half of the funds awarded for Individual Investigator Research Awards (IIRA) went to MD Anderson faculty as well as 40 percent of total IIRA awards that include those for children’s and adolescent cancer and early detection and prevention.

The CPRIT awards will go toward studies in the areas of breast, skin, prostate, pancreas, colon and lung cancers in adults; leukemia and brain cancer in children, and for studies aimed at preventing colon cancer and lung cancer.

These included:
  • $16 million for Individual Investigator Research Awards (IIRA)
  • $3.8 million for Children and Adolescents, and
  • $2.5 million for Prevention and Early Detection.

A full listing of individual awards can be found below.

In addition, Immatics Biotechnologies was one of four Company Formation Awards funded by CPRIT. At more than $19 million, the project will further enable translation of immunotherapy knowledge from MD Anderson into new therapeutics for cancer patients. MD Anderson has received $215 million in total awards since CPRIT was founded in 2009.

“This is an astounding accomplishment and we’re extremely pleased that CPRIT has again recognized the significant scientific contributions being made by our world-class researchers,” said MD Anderson President Ron DePinho, M.D. “I could not be more proud of the work that occurs every day at this institution and I commend those investigators who were awarded funding this week by CPRIT, as well as all the scientists and clinicians whose daily goal is no less than to end cancer.”

In November, CPRIT adopted new annual priorities to guide its grant awards, and specified that 10 of the awards would focus on childhood and adolescent and cancer, and five would address prevention and early detection of cancer. MD Anderson was awarded two grants in each of these new categories totaling more than $6.3 million.

MD Anderson IIRA-funded studies include the following:
  • Exploring Molecular and Immune Mechanisms of Response and Resistance 
     to Combined BRAF/MEK Inhibition in Patients with High-Risk Resectable 
     Metastatic Melanoma – $900,000
  • Elucidating the Evolution of the Premalignant Airway Genome in Space and 
   Time – $886,173
  • Role of PTEN Feedback Mechanism in Cancer – $900,000
  • Targeting 17q23 Amplicon in HER2-Positive Breast Cancer – $828,242
  • Investigating the Regulation of miRNA and IncRNAs by p63 in Mammary 
     Tumor Progression and Metastasis – $900,000
  • Genome Stability and Immune Diversity Controlled by the POLQ 
     Pathway – $900,000
  • Identifying Drivers of Lung Metastasis in Triple Negative Breast 
    Cancer – $899,637
  • Regulation of Dormancy of Metastatic Prostate Cancer Cells by Bone 
     Microenvironment – $900,000
  • Discovering the Molecular Mechanisms that Determine Replicative 
     Lifespan – $892,104
  • Function of Fibroblasts and Collagen I in Pancreas Cancer – $898,811
  • Role of TBK1 in Regulating Dendritic Cell Function and Antitumor 
     Immunity – $876,958
  • EGFR Arginine Methylations: Biomarkers for Cetuximab Resistance in Colon 
    Cancer – $900,000
  • Mechanisms of De Novo and Acquired Resistance to Therapeutic Treatment 
    of Bone-Metastatic Prostate Cancer – $900,000
  • Identification of Clinically Relevant Targets for Radiosensitization – $899,280
  • T-Cell Activating Immunotherapy for Indolent B-Cell Malignancies – $852,595
  • Leukemia Inhibitory Factor Receptor Signaling and Function in 
   Cancer – $900,000
  • On the Role of DEAR1 in the Regulation of Cell Polarity and Progression from 
     DCIS to Invasive Breast Cancer – $899,846
  • Tumor Cell Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition in Regulating 
     Immunosuppression and Metastasis in Lung Cancer – $900,000

IIRA-funded studies for Cancer in Children and Adolescents at MD Anderson included:
 • Defining and Treating Targetable Lesions in AYA Acute Lymphoblastic 
    Leukemia – $1,989,950
 • Epigenetics in Medulloblastoma Development and Therapeutics – $1,871,708

MD Anderson also was awarded the following IIRA-funded studies for Prevention and Early Detection included:
 • Mechanisms of DHA and EPA Differential Effects on Colon Cancer 
   Chemoprevention – $920,926
 • Varenicline and Combined NRT for Initial Smoking Cessation and Rescue 
    Treatment in Smokers: A Randomized Pilot Trial – $1,493,464

CPRIT has awarded more than $1 billion in grants to Texas researchers, institutions, non-profits and private enterprises. It 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 80 distinguished researchers to Texas, advanced scientific and clinical knowledge, and provided more than 1.9 million life-saving education, training, prevention and early detection services to Texans.