UT Researchers Granted $4.7 Million For Cancer Research

Few diseases have the grim cross-cultural, cross-class reach that cancer does. That’s why research about to be done at The University of Texas is so broadly important.

UT researchers have been awarded $4.7 million from the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas to research cancer biology and develop new cancer treatments.

Researchers at the University’s Texas Institute for Drug and Diagnostic Development were awarded $2.4 million as part of a $12.6 million award to the Gulf Coast Consortia Throughput Screening Program.

That’s a lot of formal names, but it means that UT researchers will have access to resources, like robotic machines and chemicals, that ordinarily are available only to large pharmaceutical companies.

Associate pharmacy professor Kevin Dalby will oversee the projects at the institute they call TI-3D, which will provide consortia researchers access to chemical-library screening, chemo-informatics, and medicinal chemistry.

“Our ultimate goal is to provide realistic pathways to new drugs,” Dalby says.

Other UT researchers have received separate grants to further our understanding of cancer in other ways.

Microbiology professor Tanya Paull will receive $1 million toward studying how DNA is repaired after it breaks and how pathways to DNA repair affect the development of tumors. She’ll work with scientists from University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

And Maria Person, director of the College of Pharmacy’s Protein and Metabolite Analysis Facility, has received $1.3 million to purchase state-of-the-art mass spectrometry equipment. It will be used to observe molecular details from the earliest stages of DNA damage, through cell proliferation, invasion and metastasis, and to provide detailed characterization of interactions of drugs with DNA and proteins.

The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute was established in 2007 by a constitutional amendment approved by Texas voters. Even before these awards, UT researchers had received $6.6 million in grants from the institute.

Photo: Tanya Paull at work in her lab. Courtesy the College of Natural Sciences.


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