MD Anderson receives more than $20 million in CPRIT funding

Funds support research, clinical translation, prevention and recruitment

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center today was awarded more than $20 million from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) to support research, clinical translation, prevention and recruitment efforts. In total, MD Anderson received 28% of the $78 million in awards announced by CPRIT.

MD Anderson awards included $12.2 million for individual investigator awards, $5.7 million for individual investigator research awards for clinical translation, $2 million for recruitment, and $2 million for prevention.

“MD Anderson’s mission to end cancer has been strongly supported by CPRIT since its inception, and we remain grateful for this vital support,” said Peter WT Pisters, M.D., president of MD Anderson. “Funding for cutting edge research, recruitment of top investigators and prevention studies allow us to attract the top minds in cancer care, and to better serve our patients here in Texas and beyond.”

Since its inception, CPRIT has awarded $2.49 billion in grants for cancer research, of which MD Anderson and its projects have received approximately 20% of the total awards. The agency began making awards in 2009 after Texas voters overwhelmingly approved a 2007 constitutional amendment committing $3 billion to fight cancer. In May 2019, the Texas Legislature voted to fund CPRIT for an additional $3 billion over 10 years.

Programs made possible with CPRIT funding have reached Texans from all 254 counties of the state, brought 200 distinguished researchers to Texas, advanced scientific and clinical knowledge, and provided more than 5.7 million life-saving education, training, prevention and early detection services to Texans.

CPRIT awards to MD Anderson include:

Individual Investigator Research Award:

  • Artificial intelligence for the peer review of radiation therapy treatments (Laurence Court, Ph.D., Radiation Physics) – $900,000
  • Targeting MEK in EGFR-amplified glioblastoma (John DeGroot, M.D., Neuro-Oncology) – $900,000
  • Investigating the role of CD38 as a mechanism of acquired resistance to immune checkpoint inhibitors in lung cancer (Don Gibbons, M.D., Ph.D., Thoracic Head & Neck Medical Oncology) – $900,000
  • Molecular features impacting drug resistance in atypical EGFR exon 18 and exon 20 mutant NSCLC and the development of novel mutant-selective inhibitors (John Heymach, M.D., Ph.D., Thoracic Head & Neck Medical Oncology) – $900,000
  • Development of a novel strategy for tumor delivery of MHC-I-compatible peptides for cancer immunotherapy (Zhen Fan, M.D., Experimental Therapeutics) – $900,000
  • Off-the-shelf, cord-derived NK T cells engineered to prevent GVHD and relapse after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (Jin Seon Im, M.D., Ph.D., Stem Cell Transplantation & Cellular Therapy) – $900,000
  • CRAD tumor suppressor and mucinous adenocarcinoma (Jae-il Park, Ph.D., Experimental Radiation Oncology) – $900,000
  • Single-cell evaluation to identify tumor-stroma niches driving the transition from in situ to invasive breast cancer (Helen Piwnica-Worms, Ph.D., Experimental Radiation Oncology) – $900,000
  • Heterogeneity of enhancer patterns in colorectal cancers – mechanisms and therapy (Kunal Rai, Ph.D., Genomic Medicine) – $898,872
  • Elucidating aberrant splicing-induced immune pathway activation in RBMIO-deficient KRAS-mutant NSCLC and harnessing its potential for precision immunotherapy (Ferdinandos Skoulidis, M.D., Ph.D., Thoracic Head & Neck Medical Oncology) – $900,000
  • High-sensitivity 19F MRI for clinically translatable imaging of adoptive NK cell brain tumor therapy (Konstantin Sokolov, Ph.D., Imaging Physics) – $887,713
  • Adipocyte-producing non-coding RNA promotes liver cancer immunoresistance (Liuqing Yang, Ph.D., Molecular and Cellular Oncology) – $900,000

Individual Investigator Awards for Cancer in Children and Adolescents:

  • Doxorubicin-induced cardiotoxicity: Defining blood and echocardiogram biomarkers in a mouse model and AYA sarcoma patients for evaluating exercise interventions (Eugenie Kleinerman, M.D., Pediatrics) – $1,444,593

Individual Investigator Research Award for Clinical Translation:

  • Circulating tumor DNA-defined minimal residual disease in colorectal cancer (Arvind Dasari, M.B.B.S., GI Medical Oncology) – $2,399,998
  • Targeting alterations of the NOTCH pathway in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (Faye Johnson, M.D., Ph.D., Thoracic Head & Neck Medical Oncology) – $1,200,000
  • Modulating the gut tumor microbial axis to reverse pancreatic cancer immunosuppression (Florencia McAllister, M.D., Clinical Cancer Prevention) – $2,067,105

Recruitment of First-Time Tenure Track Award:

  • Recruitment of one expert in Myeloma – $2,000,000

Prevention Grants Awards:

  • Active living after cancer: Combining a physical activity program with survivor navigation (Karen Basen-Engquist, Ph.D., Behavioral Science) – $1,999,200