The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) has awarded UT Southwestern Medical Center $11 million in research grants to support recruitment of top cancer scientists and clinicians, the most funding of any Texas institution.
The five research grants awarded UT Southwestern are among 14 research grants totaling $37.3 million announced May 22 after undergoing CPRIT’s rigorous review process, receiving recommendations from their respective program review councils, and receiving approval by the Oversight Committee to support the recruitment of cancer scientists and clinicians to academic institutions in Texas.
“We appreciate CPRIT providing this opportunity to further broaden the scope and depth of UT Southwestern’s critical research efforts in the fight against cancer,” said Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky, President of UT Southwestern. “Recruiting of these top cancer minds to Texas bolsters not only UT Southwestern’s expertise, but emboldens the important synergy among existing researchers working to explore better treatment and prevention strategies against this disease.”
Funding for UT Southwestern included $3 million for recruiting established investigators for Dr. Marco Durante, Ph.D., from GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research in Darmstadt, Germany. Dr. Durante is a world leader in the field of particle radiobiology and medical physics who has published extensively in several different areas and crosses various disciplines in his research and collaborations.
In addition, UT Southwestern received four grants totaling $8 million for recruiting first-time, tenure-track faculty. Those included:
• Gary Hon, Ph.D., from Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, San Diego Branch
• Jian Xu, Ph.D., from Boston Children’s Hospital, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
• Weibo Luo, Ph.D., from The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
• Laura Banaszynski, Ph.D., from The Rockefeller University
“This latest CPRIT decision will help sustain UT Southwestern’s prominence in Texas and the nation for top-flight investigations, and further solidifies Texas as a destination for top researchers in the field,” said Dr. James Willson, Director of the Harold C. Simmons Cancer Center at UT Southwestern, the only National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center in North Texas and one of just 66 in the country.
UT Southwestern’s Harold C. Simmons Cancer Center includes 13 major cancer care programs with a focus on treating the whole patient with innovative treatments, while fostering basic research that has the potential to improve patient care and prevention of cancer worldwide. The Center’s education and training programs support and develop the next generation of cancer researchers and clinicians.
Recruitment grants awarded indicate only approval to negotiate offers. At the time of release candidates have not accepted offers.
In addition to the research grants, CPRIT awarded two product development grants totaling $44.9 million to support oncology-focused research and development conducted by Texas-based companies. The grants fund projects focused on developing novel cancer treatments that build on the success of previous CPRIT-funded research.
CPRIT was established in 2007 after Texas voters approved a constitutional amendment that authorized the state to fund cancer research and prevention programs. Beginning operations in 2009, CPRIT has to date awarded more than $930 million in grants to Texas researchers, institutions, non-profits and private enterprises. Programs made possible with CPRIT funding have reached every corner of the state, brought more than 50 distinguished researchers to Texas, advanced scientific and clinical knowledge, and made life-saving education, training, prevention and early detection services accessible to more than 1.3 million Texans at risk of cancer.