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The Cancer Letter Inc.
PO Box 9905
Washington
DC 20016
Tel: 202-362-1809
Fax: 202-379-1787
publication date: Oct 26, 2012
Scientists across the U.S. may view recent events at the Cancer 
Prevention and Research Institute of Texas as lamentable: the dissolution 
of a world-class peer review system that helped dispense $300 million a year. 
Top Texas politicians don’t want any part of these blues.
The state’s governor, lieutenant governor and speaker of the House 
earlier this week wrote a letter to CPRIT officials, urging them to move beyond 
funding basic research and broaden the institute’s mandate to commercialization.         
“It is now time for CPRIT to take further steps to fulfill its statutory mission 
and expedite innovation that will deliver new cancer treatments to patients within 
three to five years,” wrote Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Speaker 
of the House Joe Strauss in a letter dated Oct. 19.
The letter gives CPRIT officials political cover to keep doing what they had 
been doing all year: moving forward with commercialization projects. These efforts 
triggered the resignations of top-tier scientists from CPRIT’s review boards.
The letter from the troika of top Texas politicos was addressed to Jimmy 
Mansour, a telecommunications entrepreneur who heads the CPRIT Oversight Committee. 
Mansour is on record expressing relief about the exodus of scientists from 
the institute’s boards (The Cancer Letter, Oct. 19). “Better to get them all out of 
the way now,” Mansour wrote in an internal email that inadvertently leaked out of 
CPRIT’s walls. “Gives us the prime opportunity to announce a new regime.”
Meanwhile, Perry’s enthusiasm for CPRIT appeared to grow. Earlier this week, 
he made a surprise appearance at the institute’s conference. 
“Since CPRITs creation, you all have helped lay a sound foundation to establish 
one of the greatest cancer-fighting tools in human history,” Perry said. “The challenge 
that remains before us is to build on that foundation, and finally begin curing cancer 
once and for all. It’s a lofty goal, but I have full confidence that with your collective 
intelligence, passion and drive, we can take the next step. We can foresee a day 
when those waiting for the drug that will shrink their tumor will be waiting no longer.”
This statement could mean either that (a) Perry doesn’t realize that his claim 
that Texas has done all the basic science required to proceed to cranking out cancer 
cures would not gain wide traction among scientists and clinicians, or (b) CPRIT has 
become precisely what the governor and others in Texas politics want it to be: a pot 
of public money that can be dispensed for commercial or political purposes.



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