Nearly $20 million awarded by CPRIT to MD Anderson

Funds support research, recruitment and prevention in medically underserved areas

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center today was awarded $19.6 million from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) to support research, recruitment and prevention efforts. In total, MD Anderson and its projects received 20 percent of the $96 million in awards announced by CPRIT.

MD Anderson awards included $12 million for individual investigator research, including awards for clinical translation research, and cancer prevention and early detection studies; $4 million for recruitment; and $3.6 million for tobacco cessation, and expansion of cervical cancer prevention in medically underserved populations.

“Since it began providing much-needed support to Texas cancer research institutions, MD Anderson has benefitted through funding for critical areas of need. I am particularly pleased that CPRIT has earmarked vital funding for preventive outreach and study for those who are medically underserved,” said Peter WT Pisters, M.D., president of MD Anderson. “This emphasis, along with significant research and recruitment support, aids us in our effort to end cancer.”

Since its inception, CPRIT has awarded $2.26 billion in grants for cancer research, of which MD Anderson and its projects have received $447.6 million, or nearly 20 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. Programs made possible with CPRIT funding have reached Texans from all 254 counties of the state, brought more than 170 distinguished researchers to Texas, advanced scientific and clinical knowledge, and provided more than 5.2 million life-saving education, training, prevention and early detection services to Texans.

“This round of awards emphasizes CPRIT’s priorities of pediatric cancer prevention and research, reaching underserved populations and investing more in early translational research,” said Wayne Roberts, CPRIT executive officer.

CPRIT awards to MD Anderson include:

Individual Investigator Research Awards:

  • Neoadjuvant treatment response monitoring of breast cancer with molecular photoacoustic imaging (Richard Bouchard, Ph.D., Imaging Physics) – $895,907
  • Targeting hypomethylating resistance in myelodysplastic syndromes (Simona Colla, Ph.D., Leukemia) – $900,000
  • Deciphering the underlying biology and translational relevance of PD-L2 (Michael Curran, Ph.D., Immunology) – $900,000
  • Pharmacological targeting of the IRE1/XBP1 pathway for triple-negative breast cancer therapy (Albert Koong, M.D., Ph.D., Radiation Oncology) – $900,000
  • A novel therapy targeting prostate cancer-induced aberrant bone formation (Sue-Hwa Lin, Ph.D., Translational Molecular Pathology) – $900,000
  • The EZH2 deubiquitinase ZRANB1 as a therapeutic target in breast cancer (Li Ma, Ph.D., Experimental Radiation Oncology) – $900,000
  • Therapeutic potential of T-follicular helper cells for melanoma treatment (Roza Nurieva, Ph.D., Immunology) – $900,000
  • Assessments of tumor perfusion with dynamic contract-enhanced multi-spectral optoacoustic tomography (Mark Pagel, Ph.D., Cancer Systems Imaging – $886,927
  • Role of S1PR1 in exercise-induced tumor vascular remodeling (Keri Schadler, Ph.D., Pediatrics) – $899,922.

Individual Investigator Research Awards for Clinical Translation:

Immunotherapeutic targeting of SLC45A2 for treatment of uveal melanoma (Cassian Yee, M.D., Melanoma Medical Oncology) – $2.4 million.

Individual Investigator Research Awards for Prevention and Early Detection:

Improving the quality of smoking cessation and shared decision-making for lung cancer screening: a cluster randomized trial (Robert Volk, Ph.D., Health Services Research) – $1.5 million.

Recruitment of First-Time Tenure-Track Faculty Members Awards: $4 million.

Awarded Prevention Grants:

Tobacco Control and Lung Cancer Screening: Expanding tobacco use cessation in northeast Texas (Alexander Prokhorov, M.D., Ph.D., Behavioral Science – $1.5 million.

Expansion of Cancer Prevention Services to Rural and Medically Underserved Populations: Expansion of cervical cancer prevention services to medically underserved populations through patient outreach, navigation, and provider training/telementoring (Kathleen Schmeler, M.D., Gynecologic Oncology and Reproductive Medicine) – $2.1 million.