The Associated Press reports that at least seven scientists sent letters of resignation in protest about an embattled Cancer Prevention Research Institute in Texas (CPRIT). CPRIT was backed by Governor Rick Perry and Lance Armstrong.
The scientists, among them Nobel laureates, Dr. Phillip Sharp, and CPRIT’s chief scientific officer, Dr. Alfred Gilman, resigned in protest after the institute approved a $20 million grant for an incubator project at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston without scientific review of the merit of the project.
Dr. Gilman told colleagues in e-mails that he was trying to prevent misuse of taxpayer dollars and funding decisions based on political considerations. The scientists object to the politically driven agenda that puts commercial interest before science. CPRIT has received $3 billion in taxpayer money.
Dr. Brian Dynlacht of NYU, another scientist who is leaving, warned that the agency was headed down a path of systematic abuses.
It is worth remembering that Gov. Rick Perry has shown his predilection for commercial-influenced policies. Gov. Perry had instituted with lightening speed, a mandatory HPV vaccination policy that would have forced school girls to expose their young innocent bodies to Merck’s controversial vaccine. It was public uproar about the commercial ties that underpinned the mandatory policy that led the legislature to overturn it.
As we have often decried in our various Infomails, the scientific foundation of medicine and America’s medical policies have been corrupted by political and commercial forces that undermine both the integrity of medical science and the therapeutic raison d’etre of medicine.
Americans suffer from commercially driven healthcare policies whose corporate beneficiaries have denigrated safety and respect for individual human lives in favor of high volume, mega profits. Americans health status fails to measure up to the benefits enjoyed by citizens in the rest of the industrialized nations of the world.
Read our 4-Part series, America’s Healthcare Crisis: http://www.ahrp.org/cms/conten
Texas scientists quit cancer program
Saturday, October 13, 2012
*Austin, Texas* –
At least seven scientists resigned in protest last week from Texas’ embattled $3 billion cancer-fighting program, claiming the agency created with the backing of the governor and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong is charting a politically driven path that puts commercial interests before science.
The Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas has awarded almost $700 million in grants since 2009, making Texas home to the nation’s biggest pot of cancer research funding behind only the federal National Institutes of Health. But how the state agency picks projects has fallen under intensifying scrutiny, beginning in May when its chief scientific officer resigned in protest after it approved – without scientific review – a $20 million commercialization project.
Nobel laureate Dr. Phillip Sharp was among those stepping down last week, writing in his resignation letter that the institute is making funding decisions that carry a “suspicion of favoritism” in how the state is handing out taxpayer dollars. Dr. Bryan Dynlacht, another reviewer who is leaving, warned that the agency is headed down a path of systematic abuses.
“You may find that it was not worth subverting the entire scientific enterprise – and my understanding was that the intended goal of CPRIT was to fund the best cancer research in Texas – on account of this ostensibly new, politically driven, commercialization-based mission,” Dynlacht wrote.