Texas' ongoing battle against cancer just got new life.
Voters statewide overwhelmingly approved Proposition 6 on Tuesday to continue funding for the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT), the state's cancer-fighting agency.
They voted 63% to 37% in favor of the state constitutional amendment that extends CPRIT's funding by $3 billion. The proposition, which the Texas Medical Association supported, was one of 10 proposed amendments on the ballot.
“Texas can continue to serve as a world leader in cancer research and attract some of the most brilliant minds – including leading cancer research scientists and biotech companies – to fight this awful disease that I see every day in my practice," said TMA President David C. Fleeger, MD.
CPRIT provides grants for cancer research, cancer-fighting infrastructure, and cancer prevention. The lion's share – about 72% – goes to research, making CPRIT the second-highest source of cancer-research dollars in the U.S. after the National Cancer Institute. This helped Texas recruit 181 top cancer researchers and their labs, including James Allison, PhD, who won the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 2018.
About 18% of CPRIT funding goes to infrastructure, including product development grants for new drugs and treatments. And 10% goes to cancer prevention efforts, such as screening programs that detected more than 3,300 cancers and 16,200 cancer precursors. Prevention funding also has given many patients a chance to participate in clinical trials or studies.
Tuesday's outcome continues the work started by Texas voters in 2007, when an overwhelming majority agreed to start the agency. CPRIT's original $3 billion was set to run out by 2022. The new funding will allow the agency to continue providing grants at least until 2032. CPRIT is funded by bonds issued by the state.
“TMA applauds the Texas Legislature for renewing CPRIT last legislative session, and Texas voters for giving the green light to fund this lifesaving venture," Dr. Fleeger said.