UT researchers receive grants to investigate cancer treatment

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UT faculty recently earned three grants worth $4.7 million from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas to improve understanding of cancer treatment options.

UT’s Texas Institute for Drug and Diagnostic Development earned a $2.4 million grant. Kevin Dalby, associate professor of medicinal chemistry and co-director of the drug-development institute, said the state of Texas is going to spend $3 billion on cancer research over 10 years.

“This grant money will be used for screening for potential drugs,” Dalby said. “In collaboration with other universities, we have a combined program where we’re doing different things, but the ultimate aim is to find drugs that can cure cancer.”

The cancer institute also awarded Tanya Paull, a professor in molecular genetics and microbiology, a separate $1 million grant for her research.

“We’re doing research on the mechanisms of double-strand break repair, which is a form of DNA repair that is in all human cells. We’re trying to understand how that process takes place,” Paull said.

She said DNA damage and how cells deal with that damage is important in terms of whether conditions result in cancer.

Maria Person, director of the Protein and Metabolite Analysis Facility at the Institute for Cellular and Molecular Biology and the College of Pharmacy, got a $1.3 million grant to purchase mass-spectrometry equipment to examine molecular DNA damage.