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Baylor College of Medicine News

BCM researchers awarded $2 million in new wave of state cancer funding

Researchers from the NCI-designated Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center at Baylor College of Medicine have received an additional $2 million in the most recent wave of funding announced by the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas. The funds will support the cancer research projects of Dr. David Wheeler and Dr. Leonid Metelitsa.

The awards, announced March 29 in Austin, bring BCM's total CPRIT funding to more than $71 million since the institute began awarding cancer grants to Texas researchers in January 2010.

Dr. Leonid Metelitsa received a $1,023,174 award for a project entitled "Development and clinical testing of a therapeutic MYCN vaccine." Metelitsa is an associate professor of pediatrics and of immunology and pathology at BCM. He is a member of the Texas Children's Cancer Center, the pediatric cancer program of the Duncan Cancer Center, and the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy at BCM, Texas Children's Hospital and The Methodist Hospital.

Dr. David Wheeler received a $996,815 award for a project entitled "Rapid and sensitive diagnostic testing for somatic mutations in cancer." Wheeler is an associate professor of molecular and human genetics at BCM and director of cancer genomics as well as assistant director of the Human Genome Sequencing Center at BCM.

In addition, BCM research has impacted CPRIT-awarded commercialization awards, including a new $15 million award to CellMedica, a leading company that develops innovative cell therapies for cancer, which will relocate to Texas from its headquarters in London. Like Bellicum, a previous CPRIT commercialization award winner, CellMedica will implement clinical studies based on technology and clinical protocols developed in the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy at BCM, Texas Children's Hospital and The Methodist Hospital.