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UT Austin Wins State Grants for Cancer Drug Research

Dr. Kevin Dalby has received an almost $5 million grant from the Cancer Prevention and Resarch Institute of Texas.

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AUSTIN, Texas — Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have received a grant of almost $5 million from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) to kick-start drug discovery programs.

It is one of three CPRIT grants approved for UT Austin researchers and among the 35 total awards announced May 18 by CPRIT. Together, the awards total approximately $79.2 million that will be used to promote cancer research in Texas.

Kevin Dalby, professor of chemical biology and medicinal chemistry in UT Austin’s College of Pharmacy, received the grant of $4,982,636. Dalby is co-director of the Texas Screening Alliance for Cancer Therapeutics. The new grant will support his Targeted Therapeutic Drug Discovery & Development Program, which is designed to develop small molecules that are precursors to cancer drug therapies.

“Our team works in conjunction with cancer researchers by facilitating studies to translate their discoveries into potential new therapies,” Dalby said. “We develop small molecules, precursors of potential cancer drugs, to assist the researchers in furthering their investigations.”

The program will help physicians and scientists who are at the forefront of exploring new therapies to target devastating diseases such as triple negative breast cancer, lung, prostate, melanoma, pancreatic, and pediatric brain cancers.

“CPRIT’s mission is to reduce the burden of cancer in Texas, and we’re doing just that,” said Wayne Roberts, CPRIT’s chief executive officer. “CPRIT funding has put a critical mass of cancer fighting energy into motion across the state – from labs and researchers to companies and prevention programs. This new round of grants bolsters Texas’ reputation as a leader in the cancer field.”

CPRIT also awarded grants of $200,000 each to two programs in UT Austin’s College of Natural Sciences:

  • Rapid Molecular Diagnosis of Lung Cancer Biopsies by Ambient Ionization Mass Spectrometry, led by Assistant Professor Livia Schiavinato Eberlin in the Department of Chemistry

  • High Affinity Therapeutic Mimotope Antibodies to the Oncogenic Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor, led by Professor Haley Tucker in the Department of Molecular Biosciences

“We are extremely grateful to CPRIT for its ongoing support of both our program and others that work to develop innovative therapies to fight cancers,” Dalby said. “Through our partnerships, we work with researchers to enable the translation of their investigations into new treatments for cancers.