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Texas' CTNET Receives $25.2M to Create Cancer Clinical Trials Network

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas has awarded the newly formed statewide Clinical Trials Network of Texas $25.2 million to create a statewide community-based clinical trials network, CTNET announced today.

Leveraging the expertise and patient resources of academic institutions and community-based practices throughout Texas, the network seeks to enhance the availability of cancer-related clinical trials to Texans. The network will function as a "conduit" for academic researchers, community physicians, biotechnology companies, and drug manufacturers "to increase the pace of clinical oncology research by testing novel concepts, drugs, diagnostics, and medical devices," and provide state-of-the art care to patients in the state, CTNET said in a statement.

The award is the largest ever from CPRIT, the state agency overseeing Texas' investments into cancer research and prevention programs.

CTNET is a non-profit whose directive is to hasten and improve clinical testing of new cancer treatments and rapidly translate research from the bench to clinical use. Founding institutions and organizations include the Baylor College of Medicine, the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

Leading CTNET's strategic efforts is James Abbruzzese, chairman of the gastrointestinal medical oncology department at MD Anderson, who will serve as chair of CTNET's strategic steering committee. Roy Herbst, professor of medicine in the department of thoracid/head and neck medical oncology at MD Anderson, and Martha Mims, chief of hematology/oncology at Baylor will be part of a working group to establish infrastructure for conducting clinical trials throughout Texas.

Two essential elements of CTNET, it said, are the CPRIT-funded biorepository under the direction of Richard Gibbs, and a new CLIA-certified cancer genomics laboratory directed by Art Beaudet. Both Gibbs and Beaudet are at Baylor.

Those resources will allow CTNET to develop tissue-based biomarkers and "more efficiently direct cancer patients to treatments with the highest potential for benefit," Mims said.

CTNET expects to solicit trial concepts from its founding members and open its first clinical trials in the first quarter of 2011, it said.

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