Today the U.S. House is poised to pass an FY 2020 spending bill that includes a $2 billion funding increase for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) including a $300 million funding boost for the National Cancer Institute (NCI).
Texas Advocates March in Support of Cancer Research & Prevention Program
More than 150 rally at State House
AUSTIN, Texas – Earlier today, more than 150 American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) advocates rallied near the steps of the Texas State House to show their support for the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT), a program that is fostering breakthroughs in cancer research and prevention.
Carrying signs that read “Texans For CPRIT,” the group cheered CPRIT’s accomplishments and chanted loudly ins support of the program which has positioned the state at the forefront in the war to defeat cancer. The group met with legislators throughout the day and asked them to authorize $600 million in funding for CPRIT over the next two years as well as to pass a bonding authority bill that would ensure sustainability of CPRIT for another 10 years.
“Too many Texans are impacted by cancer and CPRIT is giving them hope as they battle this terrible disease,” said James Gray, ACS CAN’s managing director for government relations. “We hope today’s event sends a loud message to our elected officials that they need to take action this legislative session. Any interruption in funding to CPRIT will potentially jeopardize the huge progress the agency has made to find cures and treatment.”
Since CPRIT was first authorized in 2007, it has awarded up to $300 million in grant funding annually with 90 percent dedicated to cancer research. CPRIT has funded 1,257 awards for cancer research, product development, and prevention. This includes grants to Dr. Jim Allison at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center who was awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize in Medicine for his groundbreaking work in immunotherapy.
CPRIT also has provided cancer prevention and treatment services to thousands of Texans who otherwise would do without. More than 4 million clinical services have been provided to Texans in every singly county, including screenings as well as educational and training activities for practitioners. There are 12,000 people who, through CPRIT’s grants, are now aware that they have a cancer or a likelihood of getting cancer and can be proactive in seeking treatment.
According to a poll conducted by Public Opinion Strategies, 70 percent of Texans would support reauthorizing the legislature to increase the bond issue for CPRIT by another $3 billion to extend the program for another 10 years. Approximately nine-in-ten (89 percent) of voters say it is important for Texas to remain a national leader in cancer research and prevention by providing state funds for CPRIT.
“Texans recognize that CPRIT is more than just another state agency,” said Gray. “CPRIT set out to prioritize cancer research and foster breakthroughs in cancer prevention and treatment and by every measure it is meeting that purpose. Texans are proud of CPRIT’s accomplishments and do not want to see lifesaving research and prevention programs interrupted.”
In less than a decade, CPRIT has grown into an important economic driver in the state, employing thousands of Texans and luring big business. CPRIT has created $10.9 billion in economic activity and more than 98,000 jobs in the state, according to Ray Perryman, president and CEO of the Perryman Group, an economic and financial analysis firm based in Waco, Texas. He estimates that for every dollar taxpayers have invested into CPRIT since 2007, Texas has gained $2 in tax revenue.
“There would be some very big (financial) losses associated with letting this program die after building all this momentum and establishing what we’ve established,” Perryman said. “We look at what has happened with the productivity of the economy; but you can’t measure a grandchild’s love for their grandfather. It becomes very personal for all of us.”
This year in Texas, an estimated 124,890 people will be diagnosed with cancer and 41,300 are projected to die from the disease. Additionally, there are more than 1 million people living in Texas who have survived a cancer diagnosis.
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network is making cancer a top priority for public officials and candidates at the federal, state and local levels. ACS CAN empowers advocates across the country to make their voices heard and influence evidence-based public policy change as well as legislative and regulatory solutions that will reduce the cancer burden. As the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN is critical to the fight for a world without cancer. For more information, visit www.fightcancer.org.