EL PASO, Texas (KTSM)- The American Cancer Society has awarded two Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) El Paso researchers grants in honor of “National Cancer Research Month,” according to a release sent by the university.

A total amount of $1,582,500 has been awarded to researchers Shrikanth Gadad, Ph.D., M.S., and Anna M. Eiring, Ph.D. Both doctors are currently serving as assistant professors at TTHUSC El Paso’s Center of Emphasis in Cancer.

Both researchers share a personal connection to cancer, having lost family members to the disease.

“Our researchers, including Dr. Gadad and Dr. Eiring, are working tirelessly to improve the overall well-being of our community. Their innovative work in the fight against breast cancer and leukemia has the potential to bring hope and make a lasting impact on the health of residents in our Borderplex region and beyond,” said Richard Lange, M.D., M.B.A., president of TTUHSC El Paso and dean of the Foster School of Medicine.

Dr. Gadad has received a $792,000 four-year grant from the cancer society. The grant will go towards examining how cells shift from hormone-sensitive to hormone-resistant breast cancer. Dr. Gadad will study certain parts of DNA that affect normal cells and cancer cells. His team is working to uncover new therapies for treating the most common type of breast cancer, known as estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer.

The university says that according to the American Cancer Society, about 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer, and about 1 in 36 will die from the disease.

Dr. Eriring has received $790,500 for her research in acute myeloid leukemia (AML), an aggressive cancer with “low survival rates.” Her team is set on discovering a potential avenue for overcoming drug resistance in myeloid leukemia by examining two proteins found in the body that break down waste.

The university says AML accounts for about 33% of all leukemia cases in the United States and in 2020, over 19,000 new cases of AML were discovered.

“We have a unique opportunity to improve access to clinical trials for our patients. There’s a disparity here in El Paso that only affects the Hispanic population. Our ultimate goal is to improve cancer research by achieving our quest – clinical trials here in El Paso,” said Dr. Eriring.

TTHUSC El Paso is the only health science center on the U.S. Mexico border to do “groundbreaking research” on cancer. The university adds that Hispanics are often underrepresented in cancer trials.