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Cancer Foundation Gives $24 Million in Grants to Student-Researchers

Health

UT Southwestern Medical Center- A recipient of the CPRIT grant. | Image from UT

The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas recently gave $24 million to three different DFW universities to recruit cancer-fighting talent.

Founded in 2008, the CPRIT organization is private, but state-sponsored and earns a majority of its funding through state-issued bonds. The latest grants sought out Texas students and professors capable of the next big breakthrough. The purpose of the grants is to make Texas a destination for the nation’s best in cancer research to come together.

CPRIT CEO Wayne Roberts stated that the mission is to “…connect world-class researchers to universities and institutions across Texas [to] form a critical ecosystem of distinguished cancer-fighting talent.”

The “recruitment awards” were given out to the University of Texas Southwestern, University of Texas Dallas, and the University of Texas Arlington.

From UT Southwestern, Samuel Achilefu, James William Harbour, and Siyuan Zhang received a total of $16 million. UTD professor Mingji Dai and Filippo Romiti received $6 million, and Jacob Luber from UTA received $2 million. By receiving the grant, the person agrees to “further the development of new products for diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of cancer.”

Recipients all have one thing in common, being that each individual has made large strides in their respective field. For instance, James William Harbour developed molecular therapies to help treat certain eye cancers.

According to the Dallas News, 253 certified CPRIT scholars are working at 21 separate Texas research establishments. The CPRIT fund has given $2.9 billion to worthy scholars already and another $3 billion is set to be added to the fund.

CPRIT also gave funding to UTSW to “increase minority participation in clinical trials, expand lung cancer screening, develop brain tumor drugs, and advance innovations in drug discovery and technology.”

Dr. Carlos L. Arteaga is the award-winning director of UTSW’s Simmons Cancer Center. He says the help from CPRIT allows researchers to “bolster rigorous, promising work in cancer research and prevention. It will help underserved groups and advance cancer studies in some of the nation’s most prestigious labs.”

The remaining funds are allocated to decorated professionals currently finding solutions. CPRIT awarded some doctors, such as Kalil Abdullah, M.D., millions to continue breakthrough research on cancer. In Abdullah’s case, the funding will support his testing on drugs to combat gliomas, a common form of brain tumor.

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