Arkansas Children’s Research Institute receives $11.5 million to further cancer studies

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 408 views 

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded $11.5 million in Phase II funding to the Arkansas Children’s Research Institute (ACRI).

The award is based on the successes of the Center for Translational Pediatric Research (CTPR), established five years ago. The center applies a cutting-edge systems biology approach to understand how diseases like cancer form in children’s developing bodies.

The CTPR includes partners from the Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center, UAMS, and the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute. ACRI has supported the CTPR with funding from the Arkansas Biosciences Institute, which was created as the major research component set forth in the Tobacco Settlement Proceeds Act of 2000.

Under the leadership of Alan Tackett, Ph.D., associate director for basic research at ACRI and director of the CTPR, the center is at the forefront of this type of research.

“We believe that research performed in this center will not only generate scientific knowledge and new technologies for studying disease formation but also will impact future clinical care by leading to the discovery of new treatment strategies translatable to the pediatric population,” said Tackett, who is a professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) College of Medicine and the deputy director of the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute.

The NIH established the Institutional Development Awards (IDeA) to create world-class environments for new and established researchers, especially in states with historically low levels of NIH funding.

The receipt of Phase II funding indicates that NIH believes the CTPR is on a trajectory to become one of the nation’s premier sites for translational research impacting the pediatric population. A total of 15 years of funding is available through this federal program.

“During the past five years, we supported 13 junior faculty who received approximately $22 million of federal funding, demonstrating our commitment to, and progress towards, becoming a self-sustaining research center,” Tackett said. “Our successes in Phase I have set the stage for substantial growth to create a self-sustaining research center focusing on developing the next generation of therapies to treat diseases impacting children.”

As the CTPR moves into the next five years of funding, it will develop a new Proteogenomics Resource for providing center investigators access to skilled personnel for answering complex systems biology questions using cutting-edge data analysis and computational approaches.