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Texas Grants Fund Cancer Sequencing, 'Omics Projects

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) has just awarded over $100 million in new grants to cancer biology and therapeutics research, including millions to support several research projects using genomics and to establish 'omics-focused labs.

Baylor College of Medicine will use a $6 million grant to establish a proteomics and metabolomics core facility, and another $1.1 million to study a new functional genomics approach to search for therapeutic targets for breast cancer. BCM researchers also reeled in $800,000 to use functional genomics approaches for screening mutation drivers of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, and $1.1 million to study a new functional genomics approach to discovering therapeutic targets for breast cancer.

"These research grants are especially important considering the marked reduction in research funding for cancer and other diseases from the federal government," Kent Osborne, director of the Duncan Cancer Center at BCM, said in a statement.

MD Anderson Cancer Center landed a $6 million grant for a next-generation sequencing facility, the Molecular Biology Facility Core at MD Anderson's Science Park. The grant will be used to add an Illumina HiSeq 1000 and its associated support equipment and to expand its genomic cancer research capabilities.

Researchers at MD Anderson also will use a $1 million award to conduct clinical and molecular characterization of an inhibitor-based treatment for metastatic melanoma, including studies that will help determine what patients are most likely to respond to treatment. Another study at the cancer center will seek to identify which mutations in oral and pharyngeal cancer patients can be used to predict their responses to treatments.

The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center was awarded a $4.4 million grant to the support a mass spectrometry facility for high-throughput protein analysis and to develop the computational infrastructure needed to store, process, and interpret mass spectrometry data for cancer research.

CPRIT was created in 2007 by a Texas constitutional amendment that established $3 billion in bonds to fund the center, which conducts research and funds programs based in the state.

The complete list of CPRIT's grants is available on its website.