LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A specialized research center at the Arkansas Children’s Research Institute has been awarded $11.5 million from the National Institutes of Health. The money will help fund new systems that help research how diseases like cancers form in children’s developing bodies, according to a press release.

The Center for Translational Pediatric Research will be awarded the money for Phase II of their research. Associate Director for basic research at ACRI and Director of CTPR, Alan Tackett, Ph.D., has led the research team and is committed to reaching their goals.

The research being done will help bring about new scientific knowledge and new technologies for studying disease formation. Arkansas could lead the future of clinical care with the “discovery of new treatment strategies translatable to the pediatric population,” Tackett said.

“During the past five years, we supported 13 junior faculty who received approximately $22 million of federal funding, demonstrating our commitment to, and progress towards, becoming a self-sustaining research center,” Tackett said. “Our successes in Phase I have set the stage for substantial growth to create a self-sustaining research center focusing on developing the next generation of therapies to treat diseases impacting children.”

For the next five years of funding, CTPR will develop a cutting-edge data analysis for DNA in cells or organisms that relate to the proteins making that cell or organism known as Proteogenomic Research.

“We will focus on studying cancers impacting, or translatable to, the pediatric population, strengthening a partnership between ACRI and the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute,” Tackett said.

The award from the NIH is an indication that CTPR is on track to become the nation’s premier site for translational research, according to the release. A total of 15 years of funding is available through this federal program.