Researchers from the Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center at Baylor College of Medicine received 12 individual grants totaling $11.5 million in the first round of projects awarded through the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.

CPRIT was established by a 2007 state constitutional amendment that committed $3 billion to fund groundbreaking cancer research prevention programs and services in Texas over the next ten years.

Causes, potential treatments

The projects, announced Wednesday, will focus on causes and potential treatments for a wide variety of cancers including brain, breast, blood, cervical, colon, liver, lung, ovarian and prostate cancer.

"The goal of CPRIT is to fund ground breaking, innovative research and attract the best and brightest scientific minds to Texas in order to make great strides in the ongoing war against cancer," said Dr. C. Kent Osborne, director of the Duncan Cancer Center at BCM. "We are extremely proud to be well represented in the initial phase of this important program."

Award recipients

Duncan Cancer Center members receiving awards include:

Dr. Suzanne Fuqua, "Loss of Rho GDI alpha enhances metastasis and resistance to tamoxifen"

Dr. Nancy Weigel, "A novel approach to selectively inhibit androgen receptor action to treat prostate cancer"

Dr. Bert O'Malley, "Development of small molecule inhibitors that target the oncogenic SRC-3 coactivator and their characterization as novel anti-cancer agents"

Dr. David Tweardy, "Chemical probes for signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) 3 that selectively target leukemia-initiating cells"

Dr. Catherine Bollard and Dr. Gianpietro Dotti, "Human T lymphocytes with anti-viral and anti-leukemic specificity as protection against infection and relapse after stem cell and cord blood transplantation"

Dr. Leonid Metelitsa, "Targeting tumor microenvironment by NKT cells"

Dr. Mauro Costa-Mattioli, "A new phamacoviral approach to treat Malignant Gliomas"

Dr. Brendan Lee, "Genetics of osteosarcoma"

Dr. Sharon Plon, "Whole genome approaches to define the inherited basis of childhood cancer"

Dr. John Dani, "Creation of animal models and characterization of nicotinic teceptor cancer risk factors"Dr. Jin Wang, "Selective mitochondrial autophagy in the protection against cancer"

Dr. Joel Neilson, "Evaluation of the utility of two-dimensional RNA biomarker analysis in classification of human cancers"

Nearly 900 proposals were submitted from Texas researchers. In yesterday’s first round announcement, 66 grants totaling $61 million were announced.

"Texas continues to be on the forefront of cancer research and treatment thanks to the dedicated work of our medical and research communities and the overwhelming support of voters who approved the creation and funding of CPRIT in 2007," Governor Rick Perry said. "The groundbreaking ideas created as a result of these investments will bring us one step closer to finding a cure for this indiscriminate killer."