UT Southwestern research projects bolstered with $3.6 million in funding

November 30, 2001

DALLAS - The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board has approved grants totaling $3.6 million - more than any other medical center in the state - to fund 19 research projects at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.

More than $61 million in grants was distributed to Texas universities under the state-funded 2001 Advanced Research Program (ARP) and Advanced Technology Program (ATP).

The UT Southwestern grants ranged from $70,875 to $295,348, with the largest going to an effort to develop a cancer-detecting blood test. Dr. Jonathan Uhr, professor of microbiology and internal medicine, is the lead investigator.

Uhr said his test captures tumor cells in the blood, and its first practical application, monitoring tumor burden and effectiveness of treatment, is in trials now. Other applications still in development include performing diagnostic screening to detect carcinoma at an early stage.

Uhr is working with Immunicon Corp., based in Huntingdon Valley, Pa., under a sponsored-research and exclusive-licensing agreement established between the company and UT Southwestern in 1999.

Dr. Perrie Adams, UT Southwestern's associate dean for research, said the state-funded programs play a vital role in advancing early-stage research that might get passed over by national funding programs.

"You can use ARP/ATP funding to collect a volume of data, then leverage that into larger grants from institutions like the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation," he said.

The UT Southwestern awards were among 402 grants issued under the 2001 ARP and ATP programs. More than 300 proposals were reviewed by 119 scientists and engineers not associated with any Texas college or university.

UT Southwestern investigators and projects receiving grants this year, in addition to Uhr, are:
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