The Center for Innovative Drug Discovery (CIDD), a joint venture between The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) and The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, has been awarded a $4,598,728 grant from the Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) to support its research in designing better, more effective cancer drugs through small molecule drug discovery.
"This is a milestone achievement for the CIDD, and I couldn't be more honored or thrilled by this news," said Stanton McHardy, CIDD medicinal chemistry core director and UTSA associate professor of chemistry, as well as the project's principal investigator. "This research has been what our entire foundation has been based on, so it's very exciting to see it recognized in this way."
The grant will support the center's ongoing research in the pre-clinical stage of small molecule cancer drug discovery, as well as provide opportunities to develop new cancer therapeutic programs. The CIDDis based on a multi-disciplinary drug discovery research platform built on a foundation of innovation and collaboration.
"We're not just studying existing cancer drugs, we're designing and creating novel molecules that can be designed and engineered to treat cancers from multiple biological pathways," McHardy said. "It takes a collaborative team at both UTSA and UT Health Science Center to be able to do that."
The CIDD will continue the focus on current cancer programs such as triple negative breast cancer, brain cancer and ovarian cancer. However, the CPRIT funding will also allow the center to venture further into discovering novel compounds for multiple types of cancers and expand the CIDD's cancer program portfolio.
"This should be a game-changer for drug discovery efforts in San Antonio and South Texas," said Matthew Hart, co-principal investigator from the UT Health Science Center. "The funding to our institutions will accelerate our high-throughput screening activities to identify the next generation of anti-cancer therapeutics."
The CPRIT grant was one of 26 announced through the organization's academic research program, with the goal of supporting a core facility in its efforts to eradicate cancer.
"This funding will provide many exciting new opportunities for the remarkable team at CIDD," said George Perry, Semmes Foundation Distinguished University Chair in Neurobiology and dean of the UTSA College of Sciences. "Seeing our top-tier researchers supported so enthusiastically makes this a very exciting time at UTSA."
"This CPRIT grant will boost our capabilities in developing compounds that might have pharmacological value in improving human health," said Andrea Giuffrida, vice president for research at the UT Health Science Center. "The grant recognizes the commitment of both UTSA and the Health Science Center to foster innovative therapies right here in San Antonio."
The CIDD launched in 2012 with the mission to support top-tier research dedicated to the discovery and development of new drugs to treat devastating human diseases. Its research faculty from UTSA and the UT Health Science Center have paid particular attention to small molecule drug discovery, specifically in pharmaceuticals than can treat cancer.
The unique research center is composed of a 2,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art Medicinal Chemistry and Synthesis Core Facility on the UTSA West Campus. The technological center provides medicinal chemistry and synthesis services to support small molecule drug discovery efforts. The center also includes a High-Throughput Screening Facility at UTHSCSA.