Three Researchers Move Deeper into Promising Investigations

Three researchers at the Cancer Therapy & Research Center (CTRC) (  at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio are moving deeper into promising investigations, aided by $2.2 million in grants from the state’s Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT.)

CPRIT gives the individual investigator awards to researchers who submit innovative research proposals. Researchers are limited to applying for one individual investigator award each, and for this round of funding, the CTRC sent in 17 individual investigator applications.

Dr. IanThompson“I’m delighted that 20 percent of our grants were deemed of such outstanding quality as to be supported by our colleagues at CPRIT,” said Ian M. Thompson, Jr., M.D., the CTRC’s executive director. The 20 percent funding rate is more than the normal rate of research funded by the National Institutes of Health, he noted. “We are enthusiastic about the opportunity for scientific advances from the results of these studies.”

Patricia Dahia, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of hematology and medical oncology in the Health Science Center School of Medicine, who also recently earned the CTRC’s Discovery of the Year award for identifying a new tumor suppressor gene, was awarded $919,898 to continue her work on the adrenal cancer gene.

Ricardo Aguiar, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of hematology and medical oncology in the Health Science Center School of Medicine, garnered $797,800 to delve into diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.

Rong Li, Ph.D., professor of molecular medicine in the Institute of Biotechnology, won $499,998 for his work on regulation of local estrogen production in breast cancer.

Dr. Thompson noted that the other research applications almost certainly contain work that will increase the cure rate of cancer, but that many good studies are vying for limited funds. “The challenge in cancer research is the significant number of scientific opportunities that will make a difference in the cure of cancer that simply, due to resources that are stretched, can’t be supported,” he said. “Our challenge is to work with the funding agencies and with the people of San Antonio to help move money into these very exciting research opportunities.”

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