CPRIT Awards UT Southwestern $11 Million in Research Grants to Help Recruit Top Cancer Specialists

Released: 23-May-2014 9:00 AM EDT
Source Newsroom: UT Southwestern Medical Center
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Media Contact: Russell Rian
214-648-3404
russell.rian@utsouthwestern.edu

Newswise — DALLAS – May 22, 2014 – 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 to UT Southwestern are among 14 research grants totaling $37.3 million. CPRIT announced the grants on May 22, after a rigorous review process, recommendations from their respective program review councils, and approval by the Oversight Committee to support the recruitment of cancer scientists and clinicians to academic institutions in Texas.

“We are grateful for the funds that CPRIT will provide, made possible by the support of the people of Texas. This support will enable expanded research efforts at UT Southwestern focused on finding the causes and cure of cancer,” said Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky, President of UT Southwestern. “Recruiting the top talent in cancer research to Texas bolsters UT Southwestern’s expertise, as well as strengthening the synergy of researchers in the region working to discover better cancer treatment and prevention strategies.”

Funding for UT Southwestern included $3 million for recruiting established investigator Dr. Marco Durante, 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 include:

•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, and
•Laura Banaszynski, Ph.D., from The Rockefeller University.

“These CPRIT grants will help sustain UT Southwestern’s prominence in Texas and the nation for top-flight investigators, 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 groundbreaking 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.

The recruitment grants awarded indicate only approval to negotiate offers with researchers. At the time of this news 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 focusing 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 available to more than 1.3 million Texans at risk of cancer.

About UT Southwestern Medical Center

UT Southwestern, one of the premier academic medical centers in the nation, integrates pioneering biomedical research with exceptional clinical care and education. The institution’s faculty includes many distinguished members, including six who have been awarded Nobel Prizes since 1985. Numbering more than 2,700, the faculty is responsible for groundbreaking medical advances and is committed to translating science-driven research quickly to new clinical treatments. UT Southwestern physicians provide medical care in 40 specialties to nearly 91,000 hospitalized patients and oversee more than 2 million outpatient visits a year.

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