The credibility of the state’s cancer research agency was dealt another blow, today.  As was first reported by the Dallas Morning News, state auditors are calling for extensive reforms at the embattled Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.  The 100-page report lays out problems in seven key areas including how CPRIT evaluated research grant applications to how it managed contract agreements.

The audit questions the agency’s transparency, addresses possible conflicts of interest, and raises red flags over relationship between some of its management and its donors.  It also urges the legislature to take a closer look at the laws governing the agency.

CPRIT is currently under criminal and civil investigations over the way it awarded cancer research grants.  The audit states that “By not ensuring that all grant applications are properly evaluated and documented, CPRIT weakens its ability to ensure that its award decisions best align with the agency’s mission.”

At least one bill aimed at overhauling the agency is expected to be filed, soon.  Sen. Wendy Davis called on Gov. Rick Perry to make that legislation an emergency item this legislative session.  Already the agency has put future grants on hold until some of the management and operational concerns are addressed.

In a statement today, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said:

“I appreciate the good work the State Auditor has performed in identifying areas the Legislature needs to address to make CPRIT more accountable and transparent to the taxpayers of Texas. When the problems were discovered, Governor Perry, Speaker Straus and I immediately called for a moratorium on all CPRIT’s funding. Going forward, funding for CPRIT will continue only once complete confidence and trust is restored to the agency by the people of Texas. Despite this setback, I’m still committed to the noble purpose approved by the voters to help deliver promising cures to cancer victims to save their lives. I fully expect to address the concerns this Session and return CPRIT to its original mission of defeating cancer.”

 

The full audit is posted, below: