Voters to decide on proposition to increase bond amount for cancer research institute
Proposition 6 to be voted on Nov. 5
SAN ANTONIO – It's a multibillion-dollar effort to fight cancer in Texas. Voters will soon decide on Proposition 6, which would increase the maximum bond amount for the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, also known as CPRIT, from $3 billion to $6 billion.
"Making a scientific discovery is really one of the most gratifying things," said Dr. Patrick Sung, a researcher for UT Health San Antonio.
Sung said the university can work on research because of funding from the CPRIT.
"We are really very heavily involved in drug development in this point. My goal is to come up with regimens that would benefit the cancer patient care before I retire," Sung said.
CPRIT was created in 2007 to promote and fund cancer research in Texas.
UT Health San Antonio said the funding has been used to develop new drugs, including new ones for pediatric cancer, which are focused on the Hispanic population of South Texas.
Money from CPRIT also helped bring Sung to San Antonio.
In total, UT Health San Antonio has received $93.5 million in CPRIT funding for many life-changing programs, including the development of a new type of drug for brain cancer and a texting tool to help young people quit smoking.
The Texas Medical Association said, "CPRIT already has saved countless Texans' lives, and it both saves and makes Texas millions of dollars every year."
A group called Empower Texans opposes Proposition 6. It said, "While well-intentioned, CPRIT has not been a good steward of taxpayer dollars and cancer research is not a core function of government."
In 2012, allegations surfaced that CPRIT didn't properly review the way millions of dollars in grants were distributed, which led to big changes at the organization. State lawmakers restructured the agency's grant awarding processes and made changes to improve oversight and prevent conflicts of interest.
CPRIT sent KSAT the following statement:
"CPRIT has undertaken four major initiatives to address the potential for waste and mismanagement, described below. The Texas Legislature has been satisfied with CPRIT's operations and processes, as reflected most recently in the overwhelming approval of House Joint Resolution 12 (now Proposition 6) this past legislative session, including a unanimous vote in the Senate.
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