San Antonio Express-News: UT Health San Antonio gets $6 million grant for DNA cancer research from state agency

By Laura Garcia, Staff writer, published on Feb. 26, 2021

UT Health San Antonio has received a $6 million academic research grant from a state-funded program that invests billions in cancer-fighting efforts.

The major grant from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas or CPRIT swayed Alexander Mazin, a senior biochemist and cancer biologist at Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, to bring his lab and work on DNA repair to the Mays Cancer Center in the South Texas Medical Center.

Mazin accepted a tenured professor position teaching biochemistry at the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine and will be a contributor to the center’s development and progression program studying cancer drugs.

The cancer center houses UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson, which is one of four National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Centers in Texas and treats more than 30,000 patients each year.

This is the school’s third CPRIT Recruitment of Established Investigator Award since 2018, which helped the university and Mays Cancer Center attract DNA repair expert Patrick Sung from Yale University, and breast cancer and radiation biology researcher Dr. David Gius from Northwestern University.

Dr. Ruben Mesa, executive director of the Mays Cancer Center, said the CPRIT recruitment grant was crucial for the internationally acclaimed research team as it seeks additional funding to study inherited cancer genes and develop drug therapies.

“We have been building a world-class team focusing on the issue of DNA repair,” he said. “This is really one of the main drivers of cancer and has been one of the more effective approaches in trying to target cancers.”

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