SAN ANTONIO (February 20, 2014) – Young scientists and scientists-to-be are getting a boost at the Cancer Therapy & Research Center as the state’s Cancer Prevention and Research Institute announced a $1.6 million grant to support training programs here and another grant to continue important diagnostic research.
The grant is an extension of what was originally a three-year, $2.4 million grant awarded to help train M.D. and Ph.D. fellows, graduate students and undergraduates at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. This grant will take the program into years four and five, said Babatunde Oyajobi, Ph.D., principal investigator on the research training award and director of education in the Department of Cellular and Structural Biology in the School of Medicine at the UT Health Science Center.
“We want to spark an interest in science in young people and to recruit and train young scientists in innovative basic and translational cancer research,” Dr. Oyajobi said.
Also extended for two more years is a multi-institutional grant for the Texas Cancer Diagnostics Pipeline Consortium. Ian M. Thompson Jr., M.D., director of the CTRC, and Spencer Redding, D.D.S., M.Ed., chairman of the Department of Comprehensive Dentistry in the Dental School, are working with other Texas institutions to develop nano-sized biomarker technology (aka “lab on a chip”) for diagnosing prostate, oral and ovarian cancers. The $3.9 million grant is led by investigators at Rice University and also includes the UT Health Science Center at Houston and the UT MD Anderson Cancer Center.
The grants are great news for the CTRC, Dr. Thompson said. “This timely infusion from CPRIT is extremely important for our National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center.”
The biomarkers project combines some of the best scientific minds in Texas to discover better and earlier ways to diagnose of cancer, Dr. Redding said. “This nanotechnology has the potential to be more portable and less invasive than current diagnostic methods.”
The Cancer Therapy & Research Center (CTRC) at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio is one of the elite academic cancer centers in the country to be named a National Cancer Institute (NCI) Designated Cancer Center, and is one of only four in Texas. A leader in developing new drugs to treat cancer, the CTRC Institute for Drug Development (IDD) conducts one of the largest oncology Phase I clinical drug programs in the world, and participates in development of cancer drugs approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. For more information, visit www.ctrc.net.