(AUSTIN) Today, the governing body of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) approved $51.8 million in grants to advance the state’s fight against cancer. The grants are a mix of academic research recruitment grants and product development research projects. 

“These grants, like all CPRIT grants, represent the leading edge of cancer research in Texas,” said CEO Wayne Roberts. “They have been thoroughly reviewed, both by CPRIT and cancer expert peers across the county and will push the boundary of innovative cancer research forward for the benefit of all Texans.” 

The 16 grants approved include 10 CPRIT Scholar recruitment grants to bring world-class cancer researchers to Texas research institutions.  

For example, Texas A&M University was awarded a $2 million CPRIT First-Time, Tenure-Track Faculty Member Recruitment Award to bring Lauren Hagler, Ph.D., to Texas from Stanford University. Dr. Hagler is the recipient of a prestigious Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) post-doctoral fellowship and is being recruited to conduct research in the emerging discipline of RNA cancer biology. 

Additionally, Baylor College of Medicine received a $6 million CPRIT Established Investigator Scholar Award to bring Thomas E. Milner, Ph.D., to Texas from California. Dr. Milner is director of the Beckman Laser Institute and professor of Surgery and Biomedical Engineering at the University of California Irvine. Dr. Milner has an extensive list of accomplishments, including his recent collaboration with another CPRIT grantee, Livia Eberlin, Ph.D., to develop the MasSpec Pen, a revolutionary rapid cancer detection technology. The handheld device identifies cancerous tissue within 10 seconds during surgical procedures allowing doctors to remove tumor tissue more accurately. Dr. Milner’s success as an inventor has been recognized nationally by his election as a Fellow to the National Academy of Inventors in 2016. Milner has 55 issued patents, returning royalties of over $100 million to University IP Owners/Licensees. 

The Oversight Committee also approved six product development research grants totaling $19.8 million, including a Texas Seed Company Award to MS Pen Technologies Inc.  

MS Pen Technologies was awarded $2.7 million to develop their ultimate tissue sensing system (Ultiss MD), a platform for tissue sensing and surgical guidance that combines the simplicity of the MasSpec Pen, the performance of mass spectrometry, and the power of AI/ML software. The system will exploit the fundamentals of tumor biology to detect cancer on a molecular level in vivo to guide surgical decision-making in real-time. 

CPRIT has been crucial to developing the MasSpec Pen, having previously awarded three academic research grants totaling $1.4 million for the research underlying this technology. As described previously, today CPRIT also awarded a grant to Baylor College of Medicine to recruit Dr. Milner, one of the developers of the technology, to Texas.  

This illustrates the transformational connections CPRIT funding can provide. CPRIT financed the development of a vital tool for cancer treatment, is providing funding to bring the innovator responsible for creating that tool to Texas, as well as funding a startup to expand the use of the tool to fight cancer.  

Carlos L. Arteaga, M.D., chair of the University Advisory Committee, presented the committee’s annual report to the board. Dr. Arteaga is director of the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center and associate dean of Oncology Programs at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.   


At Wednesday’s meeting, the Board voted to approve a new CEO to succeed Wayne Roberts who will be stepping down on June 30 after 12 years as chief executive.  

Kristen Doyle, current Deputy Executive Officer and General Counsel, will assume the role on July 1.  A cancer survivor, Kristen has been with the agency since 2009 and has played a pivotal role in establishing the legal and regulatory foundations that ensure CPRIT maintains the highest standards of integrity, transparency, and fiduciary responsibility.  


Created by the Texas Legislature and approved by a statewide vote in 2007, the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) leads the Lone Star State’s fight against cancer. In 2019, Texas voters again voted overwhelmingly to support CPRIT with an additional $3 billion, for a total $6 billion investment in cancer research and prevention. 

To date, the agency has awarded more than $3 billion in grants to Texas research institutions and organizations through its academic research, prevention, and product development research programs. CPRIT has also recruited 306 distinguished researchers to Texas, supported the establishment, expansion, or relocation of 62 companies to Texas, and supported 9.4 million prevention services reaching all 254 counties in Texas. 

The Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, and the Speaker of the House appoint the members of the Oversight Committee. The board meets at least once every quarter to set the priorities for the agency as well as vote on proposed, peer-reviewed cancer research and prevention grants to institutions, organizations, and companies throughout the state. 

Once processed, video of the meeting will be available here: http://meeting.cprit.texas.gov 

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MAY 15, 2024 





Bectas Therapeutics Inc. $2,750,000               

Development of LILRB4 antibodies and companion precision biomarkers for patient selection to overcome myeloid-dependent resistance to T cell checkpoint therapy  



Crossbridge Bio, Inc. $2,575,275               

CBB-120, a next-generation dual-payload antibody-drug conjugate for the treatment of TROP-2+ solid tumors  


DP240243 Indapta Therapeutics $4,500,000               

Phase 1 Trial of Highly Potent Allogeneic G-NK Cells for Treatment of Multiple Myeloma and Non- Hodgkin's Lymphoma  



7 Hills Pharma Inc. $4,700,000  

7HP935, an integrin agonist, to augment hematopoietic stem cell transplant for the treatment of hematologic malignancies  



MS Pen Technologies, Inc. $2,690,800  

Development of the Ultimate Surgical Sensing System for Intraoperative Tissue Sensing and Surgical Guidance  



Aakha Biologics       $2,549,580  

AHA-1031 engages two strong activating receptors (NKG2D/MICA and CD16/engineered Fc) in the tumor microenvironment for the treatment of advanced NSCLC  




Baylor College of Medicine $6,000,000  

Recruitment of Thomas Milner 



Baylor College of Medicine $6,000,000  

Recruitment of Radek Skoda  



The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center $4,000,000 

Recruitment of Susan Bullman  



The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center $4,000,000  

Recruitment of Oren Rom  



The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center $2,000,000  

Recruitment of Richard Voit  



The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio $2,000,000  

 Recruitment of Maria Falzone 



The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center $2,000,000  

Recruitment of Claudia Yun Wei  



The University of Texas at Austin $2,000,000                               

 Recruitment of Andrew Weems  



The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center $2,000,000  

Recruitment of Isaac Fianu 



Texas A&M University $1,998,639 

Recruitment of Lauren Hagler