On Nov. 5, Texans will vote on Proposition 6 to continue Texas’ historic initiative to cure and prevent cancer by providing $3 billion to the Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas, or CPRIT.
Cancer is the leading cause of death for Texans under age 85, and CPRIT is delivering on the promise to accelerate advancements in cancer prevention and cures. In economic terms, cancer cost the state $40 billion in direct medical costs and mortality losses in 2018. One in three people will get cancer, and more children die from cancer than any other disease.
Cancer affects virtually every Texan, but we can change that.
Texans created CPRIT in 2007, and its investments have made the state a cancer research powerhouse. CPRIT has real momentum along with measurable results. In 2018 alone, CPRIT-funded scientists won the Nobel Prize for Medicine, a MacArthur “Genius Grant” and the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences for work that expands the boundaries of available cancer treatments. In addition, CPRIT activities in 2018 resulted in $1.4 billion in total expenditures in Texas, $720 million in additional gross state product and 10,100 jobs.
CPRIT-funded scientists and clinicians make cancer prevention and cures possible with every advancement. More than 19,000 patients have enrolled in 132 CPRIT-funded clinical studies. CPRIT supports cancer prevention projects in all 254 counties across Texas, with screenings detecting 21,000 cancers and cancer precursors.
More than a dozen CPRIT-funded companies have relocated to the state, enhancing Texas’ growing reputation as a major life-science hub. This work creates high-quality jobs, supports critical lab infrastructure assets, and most importantly, helps thousands of cancer patients extend their lives.
El Paso impact
In addition to the innovative cancer research taking place across the state, CPRIT-funded projects directly impact the El Paso area. With CPRIT support, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso recruited outstanding young researcher Dr. Shrikanth Gadad to help build their breast cancer program. Gadad’s recruitment to El Paso is a first for the Texas Tech University System and for West Texas.
Twenty-two cancer prevention projects totaling more than $18 million have provided vital cancer screening and education services for breast, cervical and colorectal cancers as well as hepatitis C screenings and tobacco cessation education to residents in the El Paso area.
These include life-saving programs led by notable prevention experts Navkiran Shokar and Jennifer Molokwu of Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso that have expanded deep into West Texas with CPRIT funding.
Many of those screened by the CPRIT-funded projects have never been screened before. Evidence shows that detecting cancer early increases the likelihood of survival and reduces the cost of treatment.
Continuing CPRIT is good for El Paso and will make Texas the world leader in immunotherapy and childhood cancer research and treatment, grow networks across the state providing proven cancer prevention services and expand the emerging life-science industry in Texas.
Together, Texans can defeat cancer and save lives.
El Paso Mayor Dee Margo is the presiding officer of the CPRIT oversight committee, and Dr. Richard Lange is president of Texas Tech University Health Science Center El Paso and dean of the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine.