CPRIT Awards $6 Million for Research at UT Southwestern and UT Dallas

The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas is awarding $6 million worth of grants to North Texas cancer researchers in the first round of funding since the organization was backed by voters in the November elections.

UT Southwestern and UT Dallas both recruited researchers with the help of CPRIT funds. The funding was part of $38 million for 10 research grants to bring the total number of CPRIT scholars to 192 across the state. “As overwhelmingly affirmed earlier this month, voters want Texas to be the center of world-class cancer research,” said Wayne Roberts, CPRIT Chief Executive Officer via release. “These recruits will assist CPRIT achieve Texans’ aspirations.”

Dr. Matteo Ligorio and Dr. Benjamin Drapkin were both recruited to UT Southwestern as First-Time Tenure Track Faculty Awards of $2,000,000, and Dr. Eric Welin was recruited to UT Dallas with the same award. Ligorio came from Massachusetts General Hospital, Drapkin will arrive from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, and Welin comes from the California Institute of Technology.

Welin helped lead research at Cal Tech to develop anti-cancer drugs made from the black-and-white sea slug that lives in the Indian Ocean.

CPRIT has awarded $2.43 billion in grants to Texas cancer research that has generated $4.5 billion in additional investment. CPRIT sees itself as a an organization that can provide the first funding to research in order to instill confidence in other sources of investment. In November, voters approved an additional $3 billion in funding for the organization.