You are here

TSET Research Investment Yields $450 Million in Additional Funding

Life-saving research draws scientists and research dollars to Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA CITY (June 17, 2021) – In addition to funding innovative science that will save lives in Oklahoma and across the world, research investment by the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) has brought more than $450 million in additional research funding to the state over the last decade.

“Funding research to prevent and combat cancer and other tobacco-related diseases is a key part of TSET’s constitutional mandate,” said TSET Executive Director Julie Bisbee. “This vital work is saving lives in Oklahoma and elsewhere, as well as attracting top-tier researchers and outside grant dollars to our state.” 

TSET funds research through grants that support the Phase 1 Clinical Trials Program at Stephenson Cancer Center, the TSET Health Promotion Research Center, and the Oklahoma Center for Adult Stem Cell Research.

With TSET support, Stephenson Cancer Center (SCC) has developed into one of the nation’s leading cancer clinical trials centers. Since 2012, more than 1,700 patients from Oklahoma and 17 other states have participated in early-phase clinical trials open through the TSET Phase I Center. Those clinical trials give Oklahomans access to cutting-edge treatments close to home. 

Major pharmaceutical companies – including Amgen, Astrazeneca, Bayer Health, Eli Lilly, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Novartis, Roche and Pfizer – now choose Oklahoma and the SCC as a site for conducting their clinical trials. Since 2012, that work has brought more than $78 million pharmaceutical research dollars to Oklahoma. 

In addition, with TSET support, the SCC has recruited 64 new faculty researchers to Oklahoma since 2012. These 64 new investigators brought more than $34 million in out-of-state grant funding to Oklahoma. Since arriving, they have received additional grant funding of more than $110 million.  

With all funding sources combined, TSET support has directly contributed to leveraging over $223 million in additional research grant and industry contract dollars between 2012 and 2020.

In addition, SCC is affiliated with the TSET Health Promotion Research Center (HPRC), which has a mission to reduce the burden of disease in Oklahoma by addressing health risk factors such as tobacco use, sedentary lifestyle, poor nutrition, and risky alcohol and other substance use through research and development of new intervention tools and techniques.

For every TSET dollar awarded to HPRC since 2016, researchers have obtained an additional $2.56 in grant funding from other sources. TSET support has led to an additional $56 million in grant funding to HPRC investigators since 2016.

The Oklahoma Center for Adult Stem Cell Research was founded in 2010 to promote research in the field of adult stem cell biology and regenerative medicine. Since then, OCASCR has helped recruit 30 scientists to Oklahoma with expertise in diabetes and obesity, heart disease, lung disease, cancer, premature births and autoimmune diseases.

In 10 years, OCASCR has leveraged around $25 million in TSET funding for more than $175 million in additional grants from other sources.

“TSET researchers are exploring new ways to improve health and combat addiction,” said Michelle Stephens, chair of the TSET Board of Directors. “At the same time, TSET support is bringing new investment to Oklahoma and creating a nationally recognized research hub that benefits institutions statewide.”


The Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust serves as a partner and bridge builder for organizations shaping a healthier future for all Oklahomans. By providing leadership to local coalitions and initiatives across the state, TSET is cultivating innovative and life-changing research, while working across public and private sectors to develop, support, implement and evaluate creative strategies to take advantage of emerging opportunities to improve the health of all Oklahomans. To learn more, visit TSET.OK.GOV. 

 TSET – Better Lives Through Better Health