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CPRIT presents High Impact High Risk Award to Texas A&M dentistry professor

Photo: School of Dentistry, Texas A&M University

The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) presented its High Impact High Risk Award to Feng Tao, professor in Texas A&M University’s School of Dentistry in Dallas, the Division of Research announced today.

The $237,500 grant is among 24 new statewide awards that CPRIT recently announced totaling $49 million to support cancer research in Texas. The Texas A&M University Health Science Center (Texas A&M Health) received the grant, which will support a project titled, “A glia-to-neuron conversion for treating oral cancer pain.”

The project aims to develop a novel approach to chronic oral cancer pain using a cell conversion strategy. This strategy converts one type of cell (glia) into another cell type (neurons) to help alleviate the symptoms caused by damaged or loss of neurons. If successful, the therapeutic approach may be applied to the treatment of other cancer pain as well.

CPRIT was created by the Texas Legislature and approved by a statewide vote in 2007 to lead the Lone Star State’s fight against cancer. In 2019, Texas voters again voted overwhelmingly to continue CPRIT with an additional $3 billion for a total $6 billion investment in cancer research and prevention.

To date, the agency has awarded more than $3 billion in grants to Texas research institutions and organizations through its academic research, prevention and product development research programs. CPRIT has also recruited more than 281 distinguished researchers to Texas, supported the establishment, expansion or relocation of 52 companies to Texas and generated over $7.66 billion in additional public and private investment.

Funding approved by the CPRIT Oversight Committee has advanced scientific and clinical knowledge and provided more than 8.2 million life-saving cancer prevention and early detection services to Texans in all 254 counties.