Grants fuel tomorrow’s cancer breakthroughs
A state of Texas program designed to expedite innovations in new cancer treatments has helped MD Anderson recruit several new faculty members during the past year.
“CPRIT funding was critical for my recruitment. It allowed me to pursue bold science right from the start of my career.”
Cullen Taniguchi, M.D., Ph.D., an assistant professor of Radiation Oncology, came to MD Anderson from Stanford University Medical Center. The double-doctorate Harvard alumnus and Rhodes Scholar was recruited with funding from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT). The institute was established in 2007 when Texas voters approved a constitutional amendment authorizing the state to issue $3 billion in bonds to fund groundbreaking cancer research and prevention programs here in Texas.
New faculty member George Eisenhoffer Jr., Ph.D., assistant professor of Genetics, credits CPRIT funding with playing an important role in his decision to join MD Anderson.
“During this critical juncture in my career, the CPRIT First-Time Faculty Recruitment Award will allow me to pursue innovative research that I believe will have a direct impact on cancer treatment,” says Eisenhoffer.
Another faculty member, Jonathan Kurie, M.D., professor of Thoracic/Head and Neck Medical Oncology, received one of CPRIT’s multiple investigator research awards, or MIRAs. These awards unite multiple researchers from various disciplines to tackle a project that will advance cancer treatment and detection. Kurie’s MIRA grant will boost scientists’ understanding of the tumor microenvironment that drives metastasis.
In 2014, MD Anderson received more than $47 million from CPRIT for research, prevention, recruitment and training. In total, it has received more than $192 million from CPRIT since its formation.
Another grant program offered by The University of Texas System is also helping MD Anderson and other UT institutions recruit and retain faculty. The UT STARS program awards funding to purchase state-of-the-art research equipment and make laboratory renovations. The STARS Plus Program funds “startup” resources that go beyond equipment and renovation needs.
V. Craig Jordan, Ph.D., who joined MD Anderson in October as a professor of Breast Medical Oncology and Molecular and Cellular Oncology, recently received UT STARS and STARS Plus awards totaling $1.25 million. Jordan is a scientist specializing in drugs for breast cancer treatment and prevention. Known as the “Father of Tamoxifen,” he was the first to discover the breast cancer prevention properties of the drug.