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Texas Cancer Organizations Urge State Legislature to Fully Fund the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas

AUSTIN, Texas, April 30 /PRNewswire/ -- The issues of cancer and the economy are converging in the Texas Legislature this spring, as our state senators and representatives vote on funding for the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT). Texas voters overwhelmingly approved the constitutional amendment authorizing $3 billion over 10 years in general obligation bonds for CPRIT in November 2007. Now, the time has come for the Legislature to fulfill the wishes of Texas voters and fully fund the Institute, so it may process and award the grants necessary to prevent, treat and even cure cancer.

In the midst of all the discouraging news about the economy, last fall the American Cancer Society announced in its Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer that both the incidence and death rates of cancer in the United States decreased. This is good news.

We have the ability to continue this encouraging trend, and -- despite the timing -- we can't let fears about the economy stop us. We're all mindful about public spending, but we must remember that while cancer research, prevention and screening programs cost money in the short term, the lack of such programs costs much more in the long term. In 2007, the burden of cancer cost Texans $22 billion.

In addition, CPRIT has the potential to improve the Texas economy. When fully funded, the Institute will substantially increase cancer research in Texas -- creating high-quality new jobs for Texans and boosting the economy of Texas industries. According to a recent analysis by Families USA, spending by National Institutes of Health (NIH) created or supported more than 20,000 new jobs in Texas in 2007. And, every NIH research dollar spent in our state generated $2.49 in state economic output.

The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas Oversight Committee has been hard at work. Since last June, the committee has been meeting to establish operations of the Institute and recently announced its highly anticipated executive director, Bill Gimson, and chief scientific officer, Dr. Alfred Gilman. Mr. Gimson brings 35 years of experience at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention where he led 15,000 employees with an annual budget of over $10 billion and Dr. Gilman is a Nobel laureate at UT Southwestern Medical Center. With a competent and committed team in place, it is more important than ever that we provide the Institute with the tools it needs to achieve its goals. Texas voters have already approved it -- now the Legislature must act.

We applaud the Texas Senate for providing full funding for CPRIT in its recently passed budget and encourage all Texas legislators to support full funding during final budget negotiations. It is the smart and responsible thing for the health of Texans and the health of our economy.

    American Cancer Society
    Kill Cancer
    Lance Armstrong Foundation

    Leukemia and Lymphoma Society
    Susan G. Komen for the Cure
    Texas Medical Association

SOURCE Lance Armstrong Foundation; American Cancer Society; Kill Cancer; Leukemia and Lymphoma Society; Susan G. Komen for the Cure; Texas Medical Association
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