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Associated Press

The University of Texas Health Science Center has received $5 million for cardiovascular stem cell research, the institution announced today.

The gift will be split evenly between the health science center and the Texas Heart Institute to establish stem cell research endowments. Dr. James T. Willerson, president of the health science center, said the gift would help broaden basic stem cell research as well as develop treatment efforts for patients with coronary artery disease and severe heart failure.

UT-Houston received a separate $25 million gift for stem cell research last year, making it the state's leader in that research field. UT-Houston is the only institution at the Texas Medical Center working with stem cells derived from human embryos from the existing cell lines approved by the federal government.

Stem cells, which can come from adults and donated embryos, could potentially be used to repair spinal cord injuries and reverse effects of degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

But research involving destruction of human embryos has generated heated debate over possibilities of stellar medical breakthroughs versus immoral or unethical sacrifice of embryos for studies that may or may not produce results.

In 2001, President Bush restricted use of federal money on embryonic stem cell research to existing lines. Privately funded research is ongoing.

Willerson and Dr. Emerson Perin, director of new interventional cardiovascular technology at the Texas Heart Institute, lead one of the first FDA-approved clinical trials to treat end-stage heart disease patients using stem cells derived from their own bone marrow.

"Through our investigations, we hope to make a significant contribution in the battle to transform the future of medicine and to prevent and conquer cardiovascular disease," Willerson said.


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  • 1 year later...

I am looking to apply to both the ut health science center and the baylor college of medicine and I did not know which offered a better medical school and residency program. the summer before starting undergrad, I interned at the ut health science center and had a great time. although the downside was that facilities were not fully renovated from allison.

I have been to the baylor college of medicine website and like what it offers although it is more costly than ut. ut also offers assured acceptance from the university of st thomas where I am currently studying. I did not know whether baylor offered more via a more in depth learning hospital than ut, so thats why I am asking.


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I'm a researcher at UT Health Sciences, and we're still in the process of recovering from Allison. There's definitely a space crunch right now, but the replacement research facility is coming along and should be ready in a few months. That will help a lot. Otherwise, the med school building is rather, um, dated looking (gotta love the 70s paint and wall decorations!) but is certainly functional. And it is now much better protected in case of flooding. The other issue the med students (and the faculty) are currently all worked up about is the possible closing of the fitness center in the building. Apparently administration attempts to close the thing every 3 years or so, but thus far it's stayed open.

Baylor's new research building (Alkek) is certainly much newer, nicer, and cooler than the med school here, but I don't know where the med school classes are at Baylor. They might be in the older buildings, like Cullen.

I can't tell you a whole lot about the teaching hospital differences, but I think that a degree from Baylor probably has a little more prestige.

However, that certainly isn't everything - you need to find the program you're going to fit in with the best. Also, I take it you haven't applied yet? Why not try for both, then if you get interviews at both schools you will get a much better feel for the strengths and weaknesses of each. (I realize applying to multiple schools gets expensive). You will get the chance to talk to current students and see for yourself what's going on.

And finally, might St. Thomas have a list of alumni currently in med school at Baylor or UTHSC? I'm sure you could get in touch with them and they could help you out.

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HMB (the old Prudential building) has been slated to be torn down for years. The problem is that MD Anderson is growing so fast that every time they move people out of HMB to new buildings, there is backfill waiting in the wings that has nowhere else to go but HMB. The building will fall down before it's torn down at this rate. It's a great old building but it is falling apart. Literally. Some of the marble facing has fallen off. The old swimming pool was filled in years ago because it was too expensive to maintain as it had leaks that just couldn't be fixed.

The only thing worth saving is the mural inside the lobby. Unfortunately, the last I heard, they would not be able to save the plaster wall. I hope that changes.

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Let's be clear about the Prudential building: It can all be repaired including the swimming pool, the track to the west and the falling plaster. The owner just doesn't want to. They know there is neighborhood opposition to the Prudential building's demise. This is an historic building. It was among Houston's first surburban highrises and a Houston landmark. Inside, it is boxy and hard to work with. It is not particularly distinctive when compared with other buildings of its era in other cities and I imagine architectural historians would dispute its importance. But it's ours. It deserves to live. It is ironic that there is a public outcry about another boxy, uncomfortable space, the River Oaks Theater--and, yes, I signed the petition to save it. I'm just wondering why people hate on Weingarten Reality and give M.D. Anderson, Inc. a blank check. It's true that if a city is to grow, everything cannot be saved and Houston, like New York, has given the bulldozer a free hand. Granted, the Prudential is no Pennsylvania Station but shouldn't we save something? Does M.D. Anderson not have a rehab department?

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UTHealth, M.D. Anderson expand research with $37M grant renewal, new partners





The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston announced Aug. 7 that the National Institutes of Health has renewed more than $37 million in funding for clinical and translational research.


The renewed five-year grant will benefit the Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences at UTHealth, which was established in 2006 with the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.


Along with the additional funds, the center is adding three more partners: the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, the University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler and Rice University. The new partners will expand the center's reach beyond Houston — up though East Texas and down through the Rio Grande Valley, according to UTHealth's Aug. 7 press release.


"The center will emphasize clinical studies designed to improve medical outcomes for all populations, including children, older adults, Hispanics, African Americans, and LGBTQ people who have been historically underrepresented in research," the release states. "One of the many areas of research will focus on non-medical opioid use."


Along with the center at UTHealth, the work also will be done through established clinical research units at Houston's Memorial Hermann Health System, Harris Health’s Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital, the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, UTHealth Science Center at Tyler and UTHealth School of Public Health in Brownsville, per the release.



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CPRIT awards $11 million to UTHealth for cancer research, prevention




Five innovative cancer-fighting projects at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) received just over $11 million during the latest round of grants awarded by the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT).


Four of the grants were awarded to scientists at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth for research and a fifth to an investigator at UTHealth School of Public Health for prevention.

To date, UTHealth has received 63 CPRIT grants for a combined $94.5 million with $79.5 million going for academic research and $15 million for prevention.


“It is no exaggeration to say that basic, curiosity-driven research underpins all major advances in cancer treatment,” said John F. Hancock, MB, BChir, PhD, vice dean of basic research and John S. Dunn Distinguished University Chair in Physiology and Medicine at McGovern Medical School.


“We have to understand the basic biology of cancer cells in order to be able to figure out novel ways of stopping them from growing or forming tumors. This is recognized by CPRIT, which allocates a substantial fraction of its very generous funding to Texas scientists at the forefront of fundamental cancer research,” he said.


This year, the American Cancer Society estimates that 124,890 people in Texas will be diagnosed with cancer and 41,300 will die.



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  • The title was changed to UTHealth Science Center Updates
  • 3 months later...

The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas has awarded nearly $4 million funding to a program led by the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston with the goal of increasing the number of cancer-prevention scientists.

The UTHealth-CPRIT Innovation in Cancer Prevention Research Training Program works to produce skilled cancer scientists and researchers by teaching career skills, team science, interdisciplinary communication skills and more. The program is headed up by Maria E. Fernández, director of the Center for Health Promotion and Prevention Research at UTHealth School of Public Health in Houston.

The training program is planned to continue through May 2026, UTHealth said.

"Our center has an excellent track record of providing cancer prevention and control research training going back over two decades," said Fernández. "We’re excited to leverage our existing infrastructure to bolster the cadre of diverse and innovative cancer researchers in Texas, particularly scientists from underrepresented minority groups."

The CPRIT-funded program will build upon UTHealth's existing Cancer Research Training Program, the school said. It will include researchers from several schools within UTHealth, including the School of Public Health, the School of Biomedical Informatics and the MD Anderson Cancer Center UTHealth Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.


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