Texas Governor Rick Perry (R) yesterday asked the state's embattled $3 billion cancer research agency to stop awarding grants until it addresses concerns about its procedures. The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) responded by announcing a moratorium on new grants.
CPRIT's problems became public in May, when then-chief scientific officer Alfred Gilman, a Nobel Prize-winner, quit in protest over the agency's scientific review procedures. Two other top agency officials, including CPRIT's executive director, have left in the past few weeks amid new allegations—and civil and criminal investigations—into how the agency made certain commercialization awards.
In a letter received yesterday, Perry and two other state leaders asked CPRIT to "fully address the concerns that have been raised about its processes and operations prior to future grants being awarded." CPRIT's oversight committee responded that it "agrees" and is imposing "a moratorium on CPRIT grants. … These issues need to be resolved to restore public confidence in CPRIT." Ongoing grants will not be affected, the agency said.