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TTU System Institutions Receive Nearly $2 Million in CPRIT Grants

Three state grants awarded to TTU System institutions to combat cancer.

May 22, 2015 | Written by Dailey Fuller

CPRIT LogoCPRIT awards grants for cancer research, product development, and prevention throughout the state.

In the latest round of grant funding from the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT), three universities in the Texas Tech University System were awarded more than $1.88 million in research and prevention grants.

The three grants announced Wednesday (May 20) add to a long history of support from CPRIT. Since its establishment, the institutions of the Texas Tech University System have received 43 research and prevention grants, totaling more than $27.6 million.

"Securing these grants represent the Texas Tech University System's continued success in a very competitive field," Chancellor Robert L. Duncan said. "We are proud of our universities and grateful to the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas for recognizing our excellence in research and prevention efforts in the fight against cancer."

Angelo State University has been awarded a three-year, $1.48 million grant to expand an ongoing project to provide breast and cervical cancer detection and prevention services to women of West Central Texas.

The project is titled “Access to Breast and Cervical Care for West Texas” (ABCC4WT) and is overseen by Dr. Linda Ross, executive director of the university’s Center for Community Wellness, Engagement and Development, and Dr. Leslie Mayrand, dean of the College of Health and Human Services. It is an expansion of the “Access to Breast Care for West Texas” project that was funded by a $1.12 million CPRIT grant awarded to Angelo State University in 2012. The project will continue to be coordinated through the Laura W. Bush Institute for Women’s Health at Angelo State University.

“This grant provides the Laura W. Bush Institute the opportunity to impact the lives of women in the West Texas,” she added.  “Through our health care partners, we will be able to provide early detection for both breast and cervical cancer and prevent advanced disease. Through the existing grant project, 21 women have been diagnosed with breast cancer and over 1,000 breast cancer prevention services have been provided.”

Texas Tech University has been awarded a $200,000 research grant to help improve cancer treatments by studying chemotherapy resistant tumors and cells.

The project is titled “Integrated on-chip networks for investigating exosome-mediated drug expulsion.” Wei Li, assistant professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering, is the principal investigator on this award, which is categorized as the high impact/high risk.

Through this research grant, a microchip will be developed to better understand how cancer cells expel chemotherapeutic drugs through the “exosome” system and test the effectiveness of chemotherapy and gene-targeting therapies over traditional approaches.  

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center also has been awarded a research grant in the high impact/high risk category, totaling nearly $200,000.

The project, titled “Engineered Bone Targeting Nanomedicine for Treat of Bone Metastases from Breast Cancer,” is headed by principal investigator Xinli Liu, assistant professor in the School of Pharmacy in Amarillo.

This research grant will support the development of a two-stage, targeted nanomedicine that could jointly prevent cancer cell growth and bone degradation, which is often a result when breast cancer develops bone metastasis.

According to CPRIT, the cost of cancer treatment in Texas was $32.4 billion in 2014, an overall increase of more than 30 percent since CPRIT began calculating cancer costs in 2007.

CPRIT was established through an amendment to the Texas Constitution in 2007 that also authorized the issue of $3 billion in bonds to fund groundbreaking cancer research and prevention programs and services in Texas. Under the guidance of its Oversight Committee, CPRIT awards grants for a wide variety of cancer-related research and the delivery of prevention programs and services by public and private Texas entities. 

About the Texas Tech University System 
The Texas Tech University System is one of the top public university systems in the nation, consisting of four component institutions —Texas Tech UniversityTexas Tech University Health Sciences CenterAngelo State University and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso—and operating at 12 academic sites and centers.  Headquartered in Lubbock, Texas, the Texas Tech University System has an annual operating budget of $1.7 billion and approximately 17,000 employees focused on advancing higher education, health care, research and outreach around the globe. 

In 2014, the Texas Tech University System endowment exceeded $1 billion, total research expenditures were approximately $215 million and total enrollment approached 47,000 students. Whether it’s contributing billions of dollars annually in economic impact or being the only system in Texas to house an academic institution, law school and medical school at the same location, the Texas Tech University System continues to prove that anything is possible.