CNRCS to Receive Advanced Imaging Technology for Cancer Research

On November 2, UH Center for Nuclear Receptors and Cell Signaling (CNRCS) director Jan-Åke Gustafsson and colleagues were awarded $1 million in additional funding from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT). This is his second CPRIT award of 2011, which will be applied toward the purchase and installation of an advanced imaging system for in-depth monitoring of tumor growth and cancer progression.

“This state-of-the-art equipment provides our researchers with a broader range of research applications which will hopefully result in more effective treatments for cancer patients,” said Gustafsson. “We look forward to further expanding the impact of our research with the continued support of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.”

With access to the latest in imaging technology, CNRCS researchers will study the interactions of tumors in local tissue environments and develop a better understanding of the progression of cancer cells. The equipment also will be available to UH researchers from other disciplines, such as computer science, engineering technology and pharmacy. The collaborations are expected to advance the field of preclinical tumor model analysis and strengthen the emerging UH cancer research initiative.

Designated for core facility support, the funds will be invested in a new IVIS Spectrum imaging system. The optical imaging technology is necessary for researchers to study the molecular processes occurring in live animals, or in vivo, through noninvasive methods. The technology also improves the quality of data and reduces the required number of animals for experiments.

This is the third influx of CPRIT funding for the Center. In March 2011, Gustafsson and CNRCS professor Margaret Warner were awarded a multi-investigator grant of $5.2 million to develop new methods for treating the most severe form of prostate cancer. Fellow CNRCS research professor Anders Ström also received funding from CPRIT in 2010 for a project with The Methodist Hospital Research Institute to develop new therapies for treating secondary tumors that may result from current breast cancer treatments. Of the nine CPRIT grants awarded to the university to date, five are within the Center. CNRCS professors Maria Bondesson and Daniel Frigo also contributed to this most recent CPRIT grant application.

CPRIT was established in 2007 to invest in groundbreaking cancer research and prevention programs in Texas. The institute focuses on expediting the innovation and commercialization of research, increasing the potential for breakthroughs and enhancing access to evidence-based prevention programs and services. Over the last two years, CPRIT has awarded more than $550 million in funding statewide.

Established in 2009, CNRCS is the centerpiece of the UH health initiative. Led by Gustafsson, a world-renowned expert in the field of nuclear receptors, CNRCS researchers are involved in many aspects of nuclear receptor research, all focused on understanding the roles of these receptors in health and disease. CNRCS researchers are working toward the goal of finding new treatments for an array of significant diseases including cancer, diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Working from the Center's world-class labs, CNRCS researchers combine interdisciplinary research and dynamic collaboration with the Texas Medical Center and industry partners.