Texas A&M awarded cancer research grants

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COLLEGE STATION, Tex. (KBTX) - The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) has awarded five research grants to Texas A&M University totaling more than $6 million.

The grants are among 71 new awards totaling more than $136 million that CPRIT recently announced in Austin.

"Congratulations to the Texas A&M faculty-researchers and their teams who will receive these important grants," said Texas A&M Vice President for Research Mark A. Barteau said. "Their work will lead the breakthroughs that will advance cancer prevention and treatment around the world. Since its inception, CPRIT has led the fight against cancer in Texas by providing financial support to the state's top researchers in this field."

The largest of Texas A&M's research grants is a $4.69 million award to Margarita Martinez-Moczygemba, research assistant professor, Department of Microbial Pathogenesis and Immunology, College of Medicine, and the Center for Infectious and Inflammatory Diseases, Institute of Biosciences and Technology, Texas A&M Health Science Center, to support a program titled, "Gulf Coast Consortium High-throughput Flow Cytometry Program (HtFCP)."

CPRIT also awarded a $721,306 research grant to Zhigang Xie, research assistant professor, Department of Molecular & Cellular Medicine, College of Medicine, to fund a project titled, "A Mouse Model for Studying DIPG Initiation and Progression in the Pons."
Additionally, academic research awards of $200,000 each went to:

• Jean-Philippe Pellois, professor and associate department head, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and a researcher with Texas A&M AgriLife Research, for a project titled, "Mechanisms of Exosomal Cell Entry and Signaling in Cancer."
• Jonathan T. Sczepanski, assistant professor, Department of Chemistry, College of Science, to support a project titled, "Development of a Novel Class of PRC2 Inhibitors Comprised of Mirror Image RNA."
• Fen Wang, professor, Center for Translational Cancer Research, Institute of Biosciences and Technology, Texas A&M Health Science Center, for a project titled, "Real-time Analyses of Metabolic Synergy Between Cancer and Stromal Cells by Optogenetic Control of Cell Signaling."

CPRIT provides funding through its academic research, prevention and product development research programs. In 2007, Texas voters approved a constitutional amendment to establish CPRIT with $3 billion in bonds. To date, CPRIT has awarded $2.4 billion in grants to Texas research institutions and organizations through its academic research, prevention and product development research programs. CPRIT has recruited 181 distinguished researchers, supported the establishment, expansion or relocation of 37 companies to Texa, and generated more than $3 billion in additional public and private investment. CPRIT funding has advanced scientific and clinical knowledge and provided 5.7 million life-saving cancer prevention and early detection services reaching Texans from all 254 counties.

In May 2019, the Texas Legislature approved a constitutional amendment for the Nov. 5, 2019, general election ballot to authorize an additional $3 billion in bonds for cancer research and prevention.