(AUSTIN) — The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) today announced a $2.5 million grant to The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) for an Integrated Cancer Research Core facility. The award accelerates the UTRGV School of Medicine’s mission to address health disparities in the area, including a disproportionate incidence of liver, gallbladder, stomach, and cervical cancers and bridges existing gaps in the field of early cancer diagnostics and cancer therapeutics.

“CPRIT’s grant award process is extremely competitive,” explained Wayne Roberts, CPRIT’s Chief Executive Officer. “Receiving such a significant grant as a new institution is a tribute to UT Rio Grande Valley’s developing role in fast-tracking cancer research in the Valley and Texas.”

The specialized Integrated Cancer Research Core facility will make available cutting-edge technologies to more than 40 cancer researchers at UTRGV and throughout South Texas. It will also serve as a foundation for building the Valley’s emerging cancer research network and growing number of cancer researchers.

“I am thrilled with today’s award to UTRGV,” stated Ambrosio Hernandez, M.D., CPRIT Oversight Committee member and Mayor of the City of Pharr. “As a pediatric surgeon and a medical professional practicing in the Rio Grande Valley, I know how important this new resource is to our region, both in terms of economic development and to the long-term health of our residents. It has always been the intention of the UTRGV Medical School to provide innovative research and progressive opportunities for the community and compete with the most reputable medical schools in all areas of medical research. I applaud CPRIT for awarding UTRGV and look forward to seeing the positive outcomes of this partnership.” Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick appointed Dr. Hernandez to the Oversight Committee, CPRIT’s governing body, in February 2020.

Directed by UTRGV’s Subhash Chauhan, Ph.D., a recognized cancer investigator, and housed at the South Texas Centre of Excellence in Cancer Research, the new core facility will be the only specialized facility of its kind within 250 miles. Its location is critical to facilitating investigators’ work with local cancer patient’s samples. UTRGV will also use the facility to establish new collaborative cancer research projects, train local undergraduate students and medical residents, attract cancer researchers and bring more grant funding to the Valley.

About the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas

To date, CPRIT has awarded $2.9 billion in grants to Texas research institutions and organizations through its academic research, prevention and product development research programs. CPRIT has recruited 237 distinguished researchers, supported the establishment, expansion or relocation of 43 companies to Texas and generated over $5.7 billion in additional public and private investment. CPRIT funding has advanced scientific and clinical knowledge and provided 7.4 million life-saving cancer prevention and early detection services reaching Texans from all 254 counties. On November 5, 2019, Texas voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment to provide an additional $3 billion to CPRIT for a total $6 billion investment in cancer research and prevention.

Learn more at https://cprit.texas.gov/. Follow CPRIT on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.