AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Efforts to better understand and research cancer in Texas are getting a bolster, after the state approved $90 million in new grants on Wednesday.

The governing board of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) approved the new grant funding during its quarterly meeting.

“Today’s grants are an illustration of how CPRIT is fulfilling the original promise made to Texans at our founding,” said CPRIT CEO Wayne Roberts. “From recruitment and prevention grants to boosting the development of cancer research in critical areas of Texas, today’s awards strengthen Texas’s position as a national leader in cancer research.”

The grants will go toward 40 different projects at major research hubs across the state — including Dallas, San Antonio and Houston — as well as fund projects at developing cancer research programs in El Paso and the Rio Grande Valley.

“In supporting the regional expansion of research efforts through our TREC awards, CPRIT made a strong statement today that whether the institution is located in Houston or El Paso, Dallas or McAllen, all areas of Texas contribute to making the Lone Star State a national leader in the fight against cancer,” Roberts said.

One of the grants includes $6 million to the University of Texas-RGV to the the South Texas Center of Excellence in Cancer Research. The center focuses on regional health disparities in the border region, which has the nation’s highest cancer incidence and mortality rate, according to a CPRIT news release.

$7 million in grants will also be primarily focused on fighting cancer in children and adults.

One of those grants will be focused on improving children’s treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia, for example. CPRIT is giving $1.4 million to Dr. Melanie Bernhart and Baylor College of Medicine to examine disparities in treatment specifically for Latino children with leukemia, a demographic more likely to be diagnosed and experience severe side affects during treatment, according to CPRIT.

CPRIT was created in 2007 by the Texas Legislature and approved by a statewide vote. In 2019, Texans voted to continue CPRIT with an additional $3 billion – a total of $6 billion in cancer research and prevention. 

The Oversight Committee houses nine appointees from the governor, the lieutenant governor, and the speaker of the house to serve staggered terms. The committee meets once every quarter to set the priorities for the agency and vote on proposed, peer-reviewed cancer research and prevention grants to institutions throughout the state.

Specific funding breakdowns can be read here.