CPRIT Awards $49 Million to Texas Cancer Researchers
By Sean Price

The $49 million recently granted by the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) shows how the agency makes Texas a leader in cancer research, says Pearland radiation oncologist Mammen Sam, MD, chair of the Texas Medical Association’s Committee on Cancer. 

“Research is the foundation of medical innovation,” he said. “There’s always more research that needs to be done, but funding for it is always short.” 

CPRIT is the largest state funder of cancer research and the second-largest funder after the U.S. government. TMA has long supported the agency, including calling for its renewal in 2019

The most recent round of grants provides:  

  • $23 million to fund cancer-fighting facilities;  
  • $22 million for cancer-related drug discovery;  
  • More than $17 million for childhood cancer research;  
  • $8 million for computer-based modeling that promotes oncology; and
  • Almost $6 million for expanding access to clinical trials. 

CPRIT’s single biggest grant – $16 million – went to ImmuneSensor Therapeutics, a Dallas biotechnology company developing a new class of drug called STING agonists. These drugs activate the patient’s immune system to fight cancers. 

Other major awards from the institute include: 

  • $4 million to UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas for cancer research and drug discovery; 
  • $3.9 million to The University of Texas at Austin for advanced protein therapeutics; 
  • $3.9 million to Baylor College of Medicine in Houston to fund patient-derived xenograft and advanced in vivo models to help evaluate anticancer medicines; 
  • $3.9 million to UT Health San Antonio for pediatric testing; 
  • $3.9 million to UT Health San Antonio for cancer genome sequencing and computation; and 
  • $3 million to UT Southwestern Medical Center to establish the Accelerating Clinical Oncology Research Network to improve clinical trial access in North and Central Texas. 

Since CPRIT’s founding in 2007, the agency says it has made 1,818 awards totaling about $3.2 billion to support cancer research and prevention on three fronts:  

  • $2.3 billion has gone to accelerating research at Texas institutions. This includes the recruitment of 281 top cancer researchers and their labs, the best-known being James Allison, PhD. He was recruited to The University of Texas MD Anderson Center in Houston in 2012 and subsequently won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2018. 
  • $580 million has gone to product development research at companies in Texas to develop new drugs, devices, and diagnostics for fighting cancer. To date, CPRIT has provided 62 grants to 52 companies, including 16 companies that have relocated to Texas.  

By statute, CPRIT can award up to 10% of its grant funds for prevention efforts. So far, this has paid for screening programs that have detected more than 4,653 cancers and 28,206 cancer precursors.  

In 2019, Texas voters approved $3 billion in renewed funding for CPRIT, which allows the agency to continue providing grants at least until 2032.  

Last Updated On

October 05, 2022

Originally Published On

October 04, 2022

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Sean Price


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Sean Price is a reporter for Texas Medicine and Texas Medicine Today. He grew up in Fort Worth and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin. He's worked as an award-winning writer and editor for a variety of national magazine, book, and website publishers in New York and Washington. He's also helped produce Texas-based marketing campaigns designed to promote public health. Sean lives in Austin and enjoys hiking, photography, and spending time with his wife and two sons.

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