CPRIT Awards $39 Million to MD Anderson

On June 18, the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) announced 55 grants totaling more than $142 million. Of that funding, MD Anderson received $820,017 in prevention awards, $15.7 million in research awards and another $23.5 million for the Clinical Trial Network, which MD Anderson serves as the lead institution and Roy Herbst, M.D., Ph.D., professor, Thoracic/Head and Neck Medical Oncology as the principal investigator.


"We're pleased that the out-of-state reviewers and CPRIT officials recognize the caliber of our faculty and their research projects by funding these projects," says Provost and Executive Vice President Raymond DuBois, M.D., Ph.D. "This concludes the first year of CPRIT funding, and I'm pleased that MD Anderson was awarded almost $52 million. I know we'll continue to be competitive for future research dollars from the agency."

Research: Individual Investigator Awards

Nine awards totaling $12.5 million were given in this category. MD Anderson received three awards for a total of $6,838,693.

  • Elizabeth Shpall, M.D., professor, Stem Cell Transplantation
    $2,849,974, "Improving Cord Blood Expansion and Homing for Patients with Cancer"
  • Jeffrey Myers, M.D., Ph.D., professor, Head and Neck Surgery
    $2,528,196, "Comprehensive Analysis of Genetic and Epigenetic Changes in Oral Cancer"
  • Michelle Barton, Ph.D., professor, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
    $1,460,523, "TRIM24: a Dual Regulator of p53 and Estrogen Receptor"

Research: Training Awards

Seven awards totaling $17.6 million were given in this category. MD Anderson received one for $2,565,789.

"The Future of Cancer Research: Training Program for Basic and Translational Scientists," whose principal investigator is DuBois, will be an innovative training program designed to recruit and educate exceptional pre-doctoral, post-doctoral and undergraduate students, and position them for a career in cancer research. 

The CPRIT training program will instruct pre-doctoral students (CPRIT Scholars) and undergraduates in fundamental biological concepts in an environment where they can apply that knowledge to problems in cancer biology. The CPRIT Scholar Program will dovetail with a pioneering translational training plan for post-doctoral fellows (CPRIT TRIUMPH Program) designed to provide Ph.D.-trained scientists with the skills necessary to lead a translational cancer research program.

Research: Scientific Recruitment Awards

Seven awards totaling $16 million were given in this category. MD Anderson received two awards for $5.5 million.

  • Li Ma, Ph.D., assistant professor, Experimental Radiation Oncology (from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
  • Jessica Tyler, Ph.D., professor ad interim, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (from the University of Colorado School of Medicine)

Research: Multi-Investigator Research Awards

Eight awards totaling $54.6 million were given in this category. MD Anderson received one award for $23,533,433.

The overarching goal of the Texas Cancer Clinical Trials Network, CTNet, is to develop a cancer clinical trial network across the state to improve the quality of care for patients, provide access closer to home and increase the pace of clinical oncology research enabling the Phase I/II study of novel cancer therapies with the most modern tissue and imaging biomarkers.

The most significant bottleneck to improving cancer care and outcomes is timely completion of and access to clinical trials. CTNet's vision is to create a network for cancer clinical trials across the state that uses the combined intellectual strength of academic and community institutions in Texas to enhance access to cancer-related clinical trials for all Texans. In addition to MD Anderson, CTNet will engage seven other sites in the first year:

  • Baylor College of Medicine
  • Texas Children's Cancer Center
  • Mary Crowley Cancer Research Center
  • Texas Oncology
  • Texas Tech University Health Science Center School of Medicine Cancer Center
  • The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
  • The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

CNET plans to add three additional sites in the second year:

  • The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
  • The University of Texas at El Paso
  • To be determined

An additional three sites will be added in the third year to conduct six to eight well-chosen therapeutic studies.

However, CTNet will begin immediately to initiate developmental projects that will be aimed at engaging underserved rural, suburban and urban areas throughout the state in clinical trials awareness, education and outreach activities designed to increase access to clinical trials for all citizens of the state.

Prevention: Health Care Professional Education and Training Awards

Eight awards totaling $2.6 million. MD Anderson received three awards for $820,017.

  • Carol Dallred, advanced practice nurse, Nursing Extramural Programs
    $250,127, "Cancer Screening Education for Nurses in Rural or Medically Underserved Areas of Texas"
  • Bana Arun, M.D., associate professor, Breast Medical Oncology
    $271,359, "Increasing Primary Care Provider's Competence for Identifying and Managing Persons at Increased Breast Cancer Risk: A Professional Oncology Prevention Program"
  • Lewis Foxhall, M.D., vice president for Health Policy
    $298,531, "Integrated Professional Oncology Curriculum for Texas Primary Care Providers: Enhancing Care and Quality of Life for Breast, Colon and Prostate Cancer Survivors"