CTRC and Health Science Center researchers wrap up year with grants

SAN ANTONIO (December 20, 2011) — The Cancer Therapy & Research Center at the UT Health Science Center San Antonio recently celebrated a gift of $10.2 million from the CTRC Foundation that supports the recruitment of top researchers and leadership.

Gary V. Woods, chair of the CTRC Foundation Board, said it is vital for San Antonio to sustain a first-rate cancer center, especially for the citizens of this region. He added that support from the CTRC Foundation and the community, together with the leadership of Ian M. Thompson Jr., M.D., CTRC director, is essential to the success of the CTRC.

“Dr. Thompson is the consummate leader. He has been successful in recruiting to San Antonio some of the nation’s top scientists. The CTRC Foundation is proud to support his efforts that enable the CTRC to continue saving lives – and to advance its mission at a faster pace,” Woods said.

Dr. Thompson said the gift comes at a critical time in the CTRC’s history.

“We are so grateful for this phenomenal gift that allows our researchers and clinicians to achieve their goal of improving and saving lives,” Dr. Thompson said.

Established in 1995, the CTRC Foundation is a partner organization dedicated to funding the CTRC and its clinical, research and educational programs. Woods, who is president and CEO of McCombs Enterprises in San Antonio, has been a supporter of the cancer center since joining the Board in 1994.

The CTRC Foundation gift supports:

  • Recruitment of Tim Hui-Ming Huang, Ph.D., from Ohio State University, as CTRC deputy director. Dr. Huang has studied cancer epigenetics, (the process of gene mutation in cells) for the last 17 years and has pioneered high-throughput technologies to investigate molecular interactions and gene behavior in the formation of tumors. He has identified tumor biomarkers (substances that can be found in abnormal amounts in some cancer patients) that will predict treatment outcomes for patients undergoing Phase I clinical studies.
  • Recruitment of Ethan Argiris, M.D., FACP, from The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, as chief of hematology and oncology. Dr. Argiris is a nationally and internationally recognized medical oncologist and clinical researcher with expertise in the evaluation and treatment of patients with malignancies of the head, neck and lungs.
  • Recruitment of Steven Dale Weitman, M.D., Ph.D., from a position as full-time consultant to academic organizations and industry, as director of the Institute for Drug Development. Dr. Weitman is a pediatric oncologist focused on the development of new therapies for both adult and pediatric patients.
  • An increase in the number of patients who will be recruited for and benefit from clinical trials offered through the CTRC.An increase in the number of patients who benefit from treatment and services through CTRC clinics.
  • Programs of the Patient & Family Services Department, which strive to assist patients and families through every aspect of their cancer journey. A wide range of support services and programs are offered through its Kolitz Wellness Center.

Also this month, the William and Ella Owens Medical Research Foundation announced its 2011-2012 grant awards. This year’s round of grant submissions brought 13 grants to the Health Science Center, the largest number of grants the foundation has awarded to the Health Science Center to date and the greatest amount of overall funding ($461,780) to date.

Grant Continuations:

Steven Austad, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Cellular and Structural Biology – $18,796

Peter Hornsby, Ph.D., professor of in the Department of Physiology – $20,000

Salvatore Oddo, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Physiology – $20,000

Tyler Curiel, M.D., M.P.H., professor in the School of Medicine – $20,000

Devalingam Mahalingam, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor in the School of Medicine – $19,882

Steffan Nawrocki, Ph.D., assistant professor in the School of Medicine – $20,000

UT Health Science Center – General:

Veronica Galvan, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Physiology – $50,000

Kenneth Hargreaves, DDS, Ph.D., professor and chairman of the Department of Endodontics – $50,000

P. John Hart, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Biochemistry – $45,000

CTRC – Cancer:

James Freeman, Ph.D., professor in the School of Medicine – $50,000

Maria Gaczynska, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Molecular medicine – $48,102

Manjeet K. Rao, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Cellular and Structural Biology – $50,000

Yuzuru Shiio, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences – $50,000

Total: $461,780


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.

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, one of the country’s leading health sciences universities, ranks in the top 3 percent of all institutions worldwide receiving federal funding. Research and other sponsored program activity totaled $228 million in fiscal year 2010. The university’s schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry, health professions and graduate biomedical sciences have produced approximately 26,000 graduates. The $744 million operating budget supports eight campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. For more information on the many ways “We make lives better®,” visit www.uthscsa.edu.

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