HOUSTON ― The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center applauds the 86thTexas Legislature today for voting to approve a constitutional amendment enabling authorization of $3 billion in bonds over 10 years for the continuation of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT). The decision now goes to Texas voters in November for approval.
“CPRIT has played a key role in furthering our mission to end cancer, and we are grateful to the Legislature for getting us one step closer to 10 more years of funding opportunities,” said Peter WT Pisters, M.D., president of MD Anderson. “This important source of funding has been absolutely crucial for us to attract top researchers and educators, to support lifesaving research and to enhance prevention efforts to eliminate cancer.”
Since its inception, CPRIT has made a significant impact on furthering cancer care and has allowed more than 13,000 patients to enroll in 109 clinical trials, has recruited 175 researchers to Texas, and has increased biotechnology investment in Texas by 11 percent.
At MD Anderson, CPRIT awards to the institution and its projects have totaled $447.6 million, representing nearly 20 percent of the $2.26 billion distributed to date. MD Anderson’s CPRIT funding has included:
- $290 million for core facilities, early translational research, research training, and high-impact high-risk, investigator-initiated, and multi-investigator research.
- $22 million for cancer prevention for tobacco control, healthcare training and education, evidence-based prevention, colorectal cancer testing, and other preventive efforts.
- $40 million for seven core facilities for proteomics and metabolics, integrated single-cell genomics, pediatric solid tumor comprehensive data resource, precision support, protein array and analysis, flow cytometry and cell imaging, and next-generation sequencing.
Notably, CPRIT funding allowed MD Anderson to recruit James Allison, Ph.D., a National Academy of Science member and renowned researcher whose ground-breaking study of the biology of T cells led to his invention of immune checkpoint blockade to treat cancer. This resulted in the creation of new life-saving therapies, and the launch of immunotherapy as a fourth pillar of cancer treatment. Allison received the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his research, which already is granting improved quality of life and successful treatments for countless cancer patients around the globe.
CPRIT funding has supported MD Anderson clinical trials exploring new treatments in many cancer areas including melanoma, breast, lymphoma, leukemia as well as pediatric cancers such as acute lymphoblastic leukemia and medulloblastoma. It has also funded study of early detection approaches, which explore novel biomarkers, and biological indicators for ovarian, colon, pancreatic, lung, liver and other cancers.
“The results of CPRIT have been significant, and we fully acknowledge the amount of dedication and hard work that was required to reach this point of possible reauthorization,” said Pisters. “We are most grateful to many of our MD Anderson Cancer Center Board of Visitors leaders, especially – Sam Susser, Marsha Shields, Barry Andrews and Wayne Gibbens – for their expertise and support throughout the legislative process. Together, we are Making Cancer History.”