Texas Takes On Cancer – A CPRIT Progress Report

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Last week, the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) passed a major milestone in the fight against cancer.

In 2007, LIVESTRONG played a leadership role in advocating for passage of the legislation and constitutional amendment to create CPRIT – a $3 billion investment in cancer research and programs in the state of Texas.

CPRIT was launched in 2009 and is now the largest source of public funding for cancer research and programs in the United States outside of the federal government.

Since that time, CPRIT has awarded more than 1000 grants and, last week, the agency exceeded $1.5 billion in grant dollars awarded, surpassing the halfway point of its original funding authorization.

As we look back at everything CPRIT has accomplished in that time, what are the biggest achievements to date? Here are a few worth noting:

  • 2.8 million prevention services have been delivered to Texans in all 254 Texas counties, including breast and cervical cancer screening, vaccinations and survivorship services.
  • 110 leading cancer researchers and their labs have moved to Texas due to CPRIT recruitment grant dollars. These researchers have come from top-rated institutions including Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Stanford University, Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Johns Hopkins University.
  • CPRIT-funded cancer researchers are making significant advancements, including a discovery that could lead to a simple blood test for early detection of pancreatic cancer and groundbreaking work in the field of cancer immunotherapy.
  • 84 CPRIT-funded clinical trials are currently treating 5,600 cancer patients in Texas.
  • According to a recent economic assessment of CPRIT’s impact, 4,700 direct and real jobs have been created and maintained through CPRIT grant dollars.

CPRIT continues to see strong support across the state. According to a December 2014 statewide poll of 800 Texas voters commissioned by the American Cancer Society and conducted by Public Opinion Strategies, 89% of respondents believe it is very important that Texas remains a leader in cancer research by funding CPRIT.

While this major milestone is worth celebrating, it is clear that there is still much more work that needs to be done. LIVESTRONG supports states (like Texas) that adopt innovative approaches in the fight against cancer and is eager to see the progress that CPRIT will make in the next five years.