The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) has become increasingly active since the beginning of 2014, having announced numerous cancer research and development awards left over from the wake of the 2013 scandal, as well as several new ones as well, both at research institutions and in the private sector. One of the most recent high-profile CPRIT awards has gone to the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, which will receive more than $3.2 million in new funding to continue research efforts to collect comprehensive data relating to population research on cancer treatments and outcomes in Texas. The grant comes as part of a larger collection of research grants awarded to a host of top Texas-based research institutions that will give them the necessary funding to continue previously CPRIT-funded cancer research.
The ongoing study spearheaded by UTMB is titled the “Comparative Effectiveness Research on Cancer in Texas” (CERCIT), and will be able to continue for the next two years. The study, which is headed by Dr. James Goodwin, vice president and chief research officer at UTMB, also includes researchers from the MD Anderson, Rice University, and the Texas Cancer Registry, in addition to a team of UTMB researchers supporting Dr. Goodwin’s efforts. Over the next two years, the consortium of researchers will continue their look into how breast, colon, and prostate cancer screening is administered throughout Texas — specifically emphasizing any correlation between patient outcomes and patients’ access to varying quality levels of cancer treatment care.
Dr. Goodwin noted that, “This has been a very rich collaboration. The investigators from these institutions work well together,” adding that, “Our different disciplines and skill sets create great synergy, not only in research, but also in training the next generation of cancer investigators.”
CERCIT was established and initially funded in 2010 — just three years after the launch of CPRIT — and has remained a cancer research priority, due to the anticipated payoff that the findings will offer in streamlining cancer treatment.
In spite of the fact that the study is still ongoing, it has already yielded valuable results in its 4-year history, such as the publishing of a white paper on the impact of cancer among the Hispanic population in Texas — a document that was subsequently distributed to lawmakers and Hispanic community influencers throughout the United States. BioNews Texas reported on the findings of this document back in October, noting that cancer is the number-one cause of death among Hispanics in Texas. The organization has also gone on to produce 24 new cancer researchers, and has led to a prolific crop of published, peer-reviewed cancer studies that have been included in the Journal of the American Medical Association and the New England Journal of Medicine among others.