“The fight against cancer got another major boost from CPRIT—$73 million in awards are going to go out to nine different institutions and organizations across the state of Texas. So, that’s a big boost for the fight against cancer,” said Mark Loeffler, Communications Director for CPRIT.

CPRIT announces new cancer research grants four times a year. The sizable award announced Wednesday will go toward researcher recruitment and investing in companies developing new early-stage drugs and treatments for cancer. 

“The fight against cancer is a long one, and a lot of these developments of drugs and treatments can take many, many years,” Loeffler said. “[For] a lot of these companies, as you can imagine, it can be hard to find funding, especially in the very early stages before some of the technology has been developed. And that’s why CPRIT can make that decision to step in and help these companies to get started.”

AUSTIN (KXAN) – The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) approved $73 million in new cancer research grants Wednesday at its quarterly meeting.

Since it was approved by the Texas Legislature in 2007, CPRIT has invested in 56 Texas companies developing drugs and technology to better diagnose and treat cancer, per Loeffler.

Further, the agency has awarded over $3 billion in grants to Texas academic institutions researching cancer and has recruited nearly 300 esteemed researchers to the Lone Star State. 

CPRIT announced it has recruited Seattle-based company, OncoResponse, which received a $13 million grant and will relocate to Houston. OncoResponse is developing treatments for cancer patients who don’t respond to immunotherapy by developing fully human monoclonal antibodies as therapeutics. 

“Texas is the largest public funder of cancer research short of the federal government, so that makes us the second largest in the world—and I’m not sure many people here in Texas know that, but it is something to be proud of,” Loeffler said.  

Cancer mortality rates continue to decline

Progress in cancer research has contributed to a steady decline of cancer deaths in recent decades. 

Cancer mortality dropped by around 1.5% from 2019 to 2020 and 33% from 1991 to 2020, per an article published in the American Cancer Society Journal earlier this year.

The researchers estimated that almost four million deaths have been saved due to this decline.

“People often ask, ‘When are we going to cure cancer?’  And the message we always say here is that cancer is being cured every day, in small steps,” Loeffler said. “But that fight against cancer, those small cures that are happening all the time, are funded by CPRIT and other organizations.’”