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CPRIT awards $5.7 million to five cancer-research projects at A&M

The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) awarded five grants totaling $5.7 million to Texas A&M University, the Division of Research announced today. The grants are among 73 new statewide awards totaling more than $142 million that CPRIT recently announced in Austin.

“Since Texas voters agreed in 2007 and 2019 to invest billions of dollars to fight cancer, CPRIT has consistently delivered on its mission to fund ground-breaking cancer research across the state,” Jack Baldauf, interim vice president for research, said. “With this year’s grants, CPRIT continues to demonstrate that the Texas A&M research community is playing a vital role in the state’s commitment to cancer research, treatment and prevention.”

The largest of the five grants, a $3.9 million Core Facility Support Award, went to Clifford Stephan, research associate professor, Center for Translational Cancer Research, and co-director, High Throughput Research and Screening Center, Institute of Biosciences and Technology, Texas A&M University Health Science Center (Texas A&M Health), to fund a project titled, “The GCC Microphysiological Lead Optimization and Toxicity Screening Facility.” CPRIT bolsters cancer research by providing financial support for programs like Core Facility Support Awards—developing facilities that provide services to support and enhance cancer research projects.

CPRIT awarded a $1 million Prevention Grant to Jason McKnight, clinical assistant professor, Department of Primary Care and Population Health, and director, Residency Recruitment-Texas A&M Family Medicine Residency Program, College of Medicine, and a researcher with Texas A&M Health, to support a project titled, “Increasing Accessibility to Smoking Cessation and Lung Cancer Screening Services for Low-Income/Uninsured Texans.” Ten percent of CPRIT funds support the delivery of evidence-based cancer prevention interventions to underserved populations in Texas.

In addition, CPRIT presented High Impact High Risk Awards of $250,000 each—short-term funding to explore the feasibility of high-risk projects that could potentially contribute major new insights into the etiology, diagnosis, treatment or prevention of cancers.

  • Shreya Raghavan, assistant professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering, “Engineered Enteric Nerve-Perineural Invasion Models to Improve Predictive Preclinical Screens in Early Stage Colorectal Adenocarcinoma.”
  • Sanjukta Chakraborty, assistant professor, Department of Medical Physiology, College of Medicine, and a researcher with Texas A&M Health, “Therapeutic Inhibition of Cholangiocarcinoma Progression by Targeting Tumor-Lymphatic Cross Talk.”
  • Yubin Zhou, associate professor, Center for Translational Cancer Research, Institute of Biosciences and Technology, Texas A&M Health, “Tunable Epigenetic Remodeling to Modulate CAR T-Cell-Based Immunotherapy.”