Cancer Center Awards

The Houston Methodist Dr. Mary and Ron Neal Cancer Center Innovation Award was launched in 2019 to promote transdisciplinary teamwork within the center. This internal peer-reviewed funding mechanism is designed to promote pilot projects that solve cancer challenges in a team-based approach. The research strength of each application is determined by how well the science fits within the cancer center's strategic research programs with priority given to multi-PI research projects.

2023 Awards


  • Mechanisms and Targeting of Lysosome Biogenesis in Tumor Persisten

  • Exploring the tumor repressive activity of ERβ mRNA-based therapy in aggressive forms of breast cancer

  • Phase II trial of an iNOS inhibitor plus tremelimumab and durvalumab in patients with metastatic or advanced hepatocellular carcinoma

  • Phase I Trial of 5-Fluoruracil (5FU)-based Therapy in Combination with Hydoxytyrosol (HT) in Patients with Advanced or Metastatic Colorectal Cancer
  • Evaluation of the Efficacy of a Novel, Blood Epigenetic Marker for Assessing Measurable Residual Disease in Patients with AML

  • High dose RA TE brachytherapy prior to robotic assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy with selective adjuvant advanced androgen blockage for localized high-risk prostate cancer (NEOHDR-B)

  • Armored, affinity-tuned EpCAM CAR T cells for gastric cancer
    • Moonsoo M. Jin, PhD

2022 Awards


  • Combination Therapy Using ATRA and Carfilzomib to Treat Proteasome Inhibitor Refractory Multiple Myeloma

2021 Innnovation Awards


2020 Innovation Awards

  • LINE-1 Retroelement Expression and Lung Cancer Immune Evasion

  • Nuclear Receptor 4A1 (NR4R1) Antagonists as Immunotherapy Mimics for Targeting PD-L1 in Colon Cancer

  • Nano-immunotherapy Targeting Macrophages to Arrest Liver Metastasis in Ovarian Cancer

  • Exploration of Early-Stage Biomarkers of Urothelial Cell Transformation Induced by Chronic Arsenic Exposure

  • Multi-Omics Profiling Of Squamous Cell Lung Cancer
    • Randa El-Zein, PhD


2019 Innovation Awards

  • Identification of Epigenetic and Immune Biomarker Changes During the Progression of Non-Alcohol Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)-related Hepatocellular Carcinoma

  • Harnessing Immune-checkpoint Therapy for Acute Myelogenous Leukemia
    • Ping-Yan Pan, PhD
    • Shu-Hsia Chen, PhD

  • Characterization of Breast Microbiome in Triple-negative Breast Cancer and Prediction of Immunotherapy Response