CPRIT awards $8 million for Greehey Children’s Cancer Research Institute core labs

Photo of exterior of Greehey Children's Cancer Research Institute
Pediatric cancer is one of multiple streams of research and care in cancer that contribute to the mission of the National Cancer Institute-designated Mays Cancer Center.

Contact: Will Sansom, 210-567-2579, sansom@uthscsa.edu

SAN ANTONIO (Sept. 14, 2022) — The Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) today announced two awards totaling $8 million to support research infrastructure at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Two core research facilities at UT Health San Antonio’s Greehey Children’s Cancer Research Institute will be expanded. September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

Yidong Chen, PhD

A $3,998,688 CPRIT award will enhance the Cancer Genome Sequencing and Computation Core directed by Yidong Chen, PhD, professor in the Department of Population Health Sciences and investigator with the Greehey Institute.

“This funding is an extension of a previous CPRIT award,” Dr. Chen said. “CPRIT’s generous, continuing support will enable our facility to move beyond lab research discoveries into translational clinical research. We will acquire additional equipment to propel these efforts.”

Investigators established the core facility through a $3.6 million CPRIT award in 2016.

Photo of Dr. Peter Houghton
Peter Houghton, PhD

A $3,935,480 CPRIT award, also announced today, will support the Texas Pediatric Cancer Testing Core in the Greehey Institute. The principal investigator is Peter Houghton, PhD, professor in the Department of Molecular Medicine and distinguished former director of the Greehey institute.

CPRIT has now awarded $138 million to UT Health San Antonio cancer research and prevention initiatives since 2010. The new awards have the potential to help adults with cancer, as well.

The Greehey Institute is one example of multiple streams of care and research in cancer that contribute to the overall mission of the National Cancer Institute-designated Mays Cancer Center at UT Health San Antonio.

“These two deeply impactful grants from CPRIT bring almost $8 million dollars in crucial support for two key areas of focus for the Mays Cancer Center,” said Ruben A. Mesa, MD, FACP, Mays Cancer Center executive director. “Childhood cancers are a tragedy whenever they occur, and this grant further advances our efforts through the Greehey Children’s Cancer Research Institute. Additionally, advancing the ability to utilize cutting-edge cancer genome research by support of this Mays Cancer Center core will directly benefit the cancer patients of South Texas.”

Patrick Sung, DPhil, director of the Greehey Institute, said: “The leadership and contributions of Dr. Peter Houghton as our former institute director and Dr. Yidong Chen as our lead computational biologist have helped render the Greehey Institute a center of excellence in pediatric cancer research in the state of Texas and nationally.”

The Greehey Children’s Cancer Research Institute is only one of two institutes in the United States dedicated solely to pediatric cancer research. Its 19 laboratories leverage strengths in cancer genomics, DNA repair, RNA biology and drug development to find new and less toxic treatments for childhood cancers.

The Mays Cancer Center at UT Health San Antonio is one of only four National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Centers in Texas. The Mays Cancer Center provides leading-edge cancer care, propels innovative cancer research and educates the next generation of leaders to end cancer in South Texas. Visit https://cancer.uthscsa.edu/.

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UT Health San Antonio) is a primary driver for San Antonio’s $42.4 billion health care and biosciences sector, the city’s largest economic generator. As the largest research university in South Texas, with an annual research portfolio of approximately $350 million, UT Health San Antonio drives substantial economic impact through its five professional schools, a diverse workforce of 7,200, an annual operating budget of more than $1 billion and a clinical practice that provides more than 2 million patient visits each year. Furthermore, UT Health San Antonio plans to add more than 1,500 higher-wage jobs over the next five years to serve San Antonio, Bexar County and South Texas. To learn about the many ways “We make lives better®,” visit www.uthscsa.edu.

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