The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center will receive $10.6 million in funding from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) for two collaborative studies targeting crucial issues in lung cancer.
The two multi-investigator research awards, designed to support teams of researchers from multiple Texas institutions, were announced after the CPRIT Oversight Committee met to approve new projects.
Both grants originate from MD Anderson’s Lung Cancer Moon Shot, part of its Moon Shots Program to reduce cancer deaths by accelerating the development of new treatments, prevention programs, and early detection efforts based on scientific discoveries.
Jonathan Kurie, MD
One $6 million grant focuses on defining and defeating lung cancers driven by KRAS gene mutations, which account for about 25% of non–small cell lung cancers. KRAS mutations cannot be directly treated at present, whereas drugs have been found to hit other, less common, mutations. Jonathan Kurie, MD, Professor of Thoracic/Head and Neck Medical Oncology, is principal investigator of the project.
Another $4.6 million grant will study the pathogenesis and early progression of lung cancer, addressing the diversity of genomic alterations in lung tumors. The project leader is
Ignacio Wistuba, MD
Ignacio Wistuba, MD, Chair of Translational Molecular Pathology.
Ronald A. DePinho, MD
“Our Moon Shots Program is designed to swiftly advance lifesaving innovations, and CPRIT funding helps us address crucial issues in reducing mortality from the most lethal of cancers,” said Ronald A. DePinho, MD, President of MD Anderson. “We are proud our experts received the only multi-investigator research projects awarded by CPRIT during this review term. This is a testament to the quality of our science as well as our collaborative team culture.”
MD Anderson also received a high-impact/high-risk grant of $200,000 to target histone acetylation readers in MLL-translocated leukemias. ■