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Texas Draws Top Cancer Scientists with Big Research Bucks

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Leading cancer researchers are being drawn to Texas to do their work as the state's institutions pour money new cancer programs, reports ScienceInsider's Jocelyn Kaiser. The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor's Sean Morrison, a leading stem cell researcher, is moving to the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas to head a pediatric cancer initiative. "The university recruited him with one of the first awards for established investigators from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT), a $3 billion, 10-year cancer research fund along the lines of California's stem cell initiative," Kaiser says. While Morrison doesn't necessarily believe that Texas is a better place to study human embryonic stem cells than Michigan, he tells ScienceInsider that "Texas is clearly an environment that's more supportive generally of research innovation. Three billion [dollars] for cancer research is going to change the landscape." The $10 million, 4-year award that drew Morrison to Texas is one of three so-called "superstar" awards at CPRIT that will be announced in July, Kaiser says.

The University of Texas also managed to woo two other cancer researchers this week, Kaiser adds. Cancer geneticist Ronald DePinho of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute has been named as the next president of the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. DePinho's wife, Cancer Genome Atlas leader Lynda Chin, is also moving to MD Anderson.

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