The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas says it will comply with a request from state leaders for a moratorium on grants until concerns about the agency are addressed.
Earlier today, Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and House Speaker Joe Straus sent a letter to the agency, asking it to halt the distribution of grants until it evaluates its processes and operations.
CPRIT is currently the subject of three investigations. Most recently, the Travis County District Attorney's Public Integrity unit announced it was investigating an $11 million grant awarded to the Dallas-based Peleton Therapeutics. An independent audit found CPRIT awarded the grant without the required scientific review.
CPRIT Committee Chairman Jimmy Mansour and Vice Chairman Joseph S. Bailes issued this statement in response to the moratorium request:
“The CPRIT Oversight Committee agrees with and endorses the call by Governor Perry, Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst and House Speaker Straus for a moratorium on CPRIT grants until concerns about the agency are addressed. These issues need to be resolved to restore public confidence in CPRIT.”
Meanwhile, Sen. Wendy Davis is proposing to reform the agency. In an open letter to Gov. Perry, Sen. Davis asked that he add CPRIT reform to his list of legislation to be tackled first thing, in January. Those reforms include evaluating whether private donors should "be allowed to supplement the salaries of the agencies’ employees, particularly where those donors have an interest in the awarding of those funds."