UAMS Rockefeller Cancer Institute awarded 5 NCI grants

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 82 views 

Researchers at the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) have been awarded five new grants from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in 2024, totaling $4.6 million.

The new grants include:

  • $3.3 million NCI grant to create a Melanoma Resistance Evolution Atlas, Principal Investigator: Alan Tackett, Ph.D., Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute deputy director;
  • $421,000 NCI grant to study cancer-evolved resistance mechanism to enhance adoptive T-cells, Principal Investigators: Tackett and Brian Koss, Ph.D., UAMS assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biology;
  • $393,000 NCI grant to study the mechanisms of TH17-DC immunotherapy for ovarian cancer. Principal Investigator: Martin Cannon, Ph.D., UAMS professor of microbiology and immunology;
  • $393,000 NCI grant to study SR-A as a therapeutic target in breast cancer. Principal Investigators: Steven Post, Ph.D., UAMS professor of pathology, and Behjatolah Karbassi, Ph.D., UAMS associate professor of pathology; and
  • $153,000 NCI grant to study the development of immunocompetent melanoma brain metastases organoids. Principal Investigator: Analiz Rodriguez, M.D., Ph.D., UAMS associate professor of neurosurgery.

The multimillion-dollar increase in highly competitive cancer research funding in less than three months comes on top of an existing $11.5 million COBRE grant awarded to UAMS in March by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to establish the Center for Molecular Interactions in Cancer.

UAMS has significantly strengthened its cancer research talent pool with the nationwide recruitment of 24 new cancer researchers since 2020, it said.

“We’re making tremendous progress in meeting the research funding threshold that NCI requires of its designated cancer centers,” said Michael Birrer, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute and UAMS vice chancellor. “To receive five grants from NCI in this short amount of time is rare.”

NCI designation is a highly competitive assessment process during which cancer centers must demonstrate depth and breadth of high-quality cancer research and treatment. Receiving NCI designation brings substantial benefits, including the ability to access significant federal research funding and offer novel clinical trials not available to non-designated centers.