Texas’s $3 billion cancer research agency is back in business. Yesterday, state leaders lifted a moratorium on new grants at the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) that had been in place since December.
Governor Rick Perry had asked CPRIT to freeze operations after a string of controversies involving conflicts of interest and other irregularities. The trouble began in May 2012 with the resignation of CPRIT Chief Scientific Officer Alfred Gilman, a Nobel Prize winner, over the agency’s review procedures, and culminated in the resignation of two other top leaders.
In the months since, the Texas legislature passed a bill to overhaul CPRIT’s operations. The agency also has a new oversight board that will hold its first meeting tomorrow.
In a letter, Perry and other leaders say the agency can now finalize 118 awards that had been approved when the moratorium took effect. According to a timeline on CPRIT’s website, the agency is recruiting scientific peer reviewers and expects to issue new requests for proposals in the next few weeks.
Since 2010, the agency had made 498 awards for cancer research and prevention to Texas institutions totaling $836 million, making it the second largest U.S. funding source for cancer research after the National Cancer Institute.