David Gius receives UT System award to advance research on aging and breast cancer

David Gius, MD, PhD, has been awarded a $1.6 million UT System Faculty STARs award to support his research on aging and breast cancer.

The award will be used to purchase equipment to conduct more in-depth experiments in his laboratory at the Sam and Ann Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies. Dr. Gius said one vital tool is a scanning electron microscope that creates a 3-D reconstruction of the mitochondria.

This advanced equipment will allow him and other researchers to look at the connection between aging, metabolism and the development of high-risk estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer. Dr. Gius said this type of breast cancer is the most common in the United States and the No. 1 killer of women.

“Aging and cancer are closely connected. Cancer is a disease of aging,” Dr. Gius explained.

The breast cancer and radiation oncology investigator is affiliated with both the Mays Cancer Center, home to UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson, and the Sam and Ann Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies.

“Very few institutions have this type of equipment and this award will help researchers focused on aging to carry out their experiments and will enhance the research collaboration between the Barshop and the Mays Cancer Center,” Dr. Gius said.

Dr. Gius said he’s preparing to start a clinical trial focused on aging and breast cancer and his research will be part of the National Cancer Institute’s Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPOREs).

Dr. Gius is the associate director for translational research at the Mays Cancer Center and an associate dean for research and professor of radiation oncology in the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine.

In 2020, he was recruited to UT Health San Antonio from the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center at Northwestern University with a $6 million senior investigator recruitment grant awarded by the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.

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