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“By the time we’re done, I predict we will have created in Texas the finest cluster of cancer expertise in the world.”

“CPRIT’s grant award processes include numerous checks and balances, and

the agency has sought public input on important initiatives such as administra- tive rule changes and establishing program policies,” he said.

ON THE AGENDA The legislature appropriated $600 million in bond proceeds for 2014–15 and required a transfer of $6 million in bond proceeds to the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) to support the Texas Cancer Registry. By law, CPRIT can allocate a maximum of 10 percent of total annual grant awards to prevention. That means up to $30 million will be available to fund prevention initiatives in 2015. CPRIT funding is split among research, prevention efforts, and product de-

velopment. In November 2014, CPRIT announced it awarded 32 new grants — 20 through its product development program, five through its prevention pro- gram, and seven recruitment grants through its research program — totaling more than $65 million toward advancing the fight against cancer. Recipients in- cluded Baylor College of Medicine, several branches of The University of Texas, including MD Anderson Cancer Center, and Texas Tech University. CPRIT did not award any new grants to private businesses. Mr. Roberts says the organization’s biggest challenge is finding ways to lever- age its $300 million a year. “We want to make sure we’re not just mimicking what is going on elsewhere

in cancer research,” he said. The oversight committee’s new annual process of setting program priorities provides for greater transparency in how the agency allocates its funding and helps staff decide which grant applications it approves, he says. CPRIT now reviews and adjusts its priorities every year as circumstanc- es change and new information surfaces, Mr. Roberts says. The oversight committee adopted its first set of priorities at its November

2014 meeting, where it decided to focus on prevention and research of rare and hard-to-treat cancers, including juvenile and adolescent cancers. “The private sector tends to focus on cancers where they can produce a prod-

uct or drug for the maximum number of patients to increase profits. Children’s cancers are relatively rare to begin with, and some people believe these and other rare cancers haven’t received the attention they deserve,” Mr. Roberts says. CPRIT also plans to continue recruiting top cancer researchers to Texas, Mr.

Roberts says. “A talented researcher, particularly a young one, represents 25 to 30 years of

research. By the time we’re done, I predict we will have created in Texas the finest cluster of cancer expertise in the world,” he said.

NEW HURDLES A new bill seeks to end funding to CPRIT forever. Senate Bill 197, prefiled last December by Sen. Charles Schwertner, MD (R-Georgetown), would terminate state funding to CPRIT upon its sunset date in 2021. The bill tasks the organiza- tion with finding a way to operate without state funds. Senator Schwertner did not respond to a request for comment. Mr. Roberts says the bill instructs CPRIT to plan for the future.

“It’s still early in the process, and at this point quite a lot remains to be consid-

All articles in Texas Medicine that mention Texas Medical Association’s stance on state legislation are defined as “legislative advertising,” according to Texas Govt. Code Ann. §305.027. That law requires disclosure of the name and address of the person who contracts with the printer to publish the legislative advertising in Texas Medicine: Louis J. Goodman, PhD, Executive Vice President, TMA, 401 W. 15th St., Austin, TX 78701.

26 TEXAS MEDICINE March 2015

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