Top Scientists Are Fleeing Rick Perry's "Politically Driven" Cancer-Fighting Program

Categories: Politics

Dubois_bigcheck.jpg
MD Anderson and CPRIT officials holding a very large, and now very controversial check.
When it comes to funding cancer research, no entity other than the federal National Institutes of Health draws from a deeper well than the The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas. Since the taxpayer-funded agency's creation in 2007, backed by Governor Rick Perry and Lance Armstrong, it has awarded hundreds of millions of dollars in grants. But its top talent is fleeing the agency, characterizing its selection process as unscientific at best, and political favoritism at worst.

The agency's former chief scientific officer, Dr. Alfred Gilman -- a pharmacology professor emeritus at Dallas' UT Southwestern and a Nobel laureate -- worries about fast-tracked grants approved by the agency without scientific peer review.

Lately, the agency has focused on "commercialization projects" -- an injection of capital to speed research down the drug-development pipeline. Which would be good, the defecting scientists say, if the projects chosen didn't carry more than just a whiff of politics. Some seven CPRIT scientists handed in letters of resignation last week, according to the Associated Press.

"You may find that it was not worth subverting the entire scientific enterprise -- and my understanding was that the intended goal of C.P.R.I.T. was to fund the best cancer research in Texas -- on account of this ostensibly new, politically driven, commercialization-based mission," wrote scientist Brian Dynlacht in his resignation letter.

The furor began back in May, after the agency awarded a nearly $20 million grant -- its largest ever -- to MD Anderson Cancer Center's "moon shot" to combat the disease. The problem, as Gilman saw it, was that the approval bypassed the agency's scientific council, which is supposed to sign off on proposed projects. MD Anderson's six-and-a-half-page proposal, Gilman wrote, was a "vague organizational plan," according to the journal Nature.

Harvard Medical School professor William G. Kaelin, a member of the agency's scientific review board who resigned last week, said he'd learned that colleagues had been pressured by state officials to reconsider low marks given to certain commercialization projects.


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8 comments
pcwag33
pcwag33

Jews are leaving TX!

CitzenKim
CitzenKim

Scientific proof that having Ricky Perry as Govenor is hazardous to your health.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

I'm shocked ... I'm shocked to find that one of Gov. Perry's programs is politically motivated ....

RandyAynIsAPain
RandyAynIsAPain

Who would have thought that a governor who actually tried to get Texas to secede from the Union (because he didn't like answering to a black President) and whose family painted a racial epithet on a rock would be involved in the politically motivated corruption of a scientific endeavour to combat cancer?

 

Well, just about anybody who reads and doesn't watch Faux News 24/7, that's who.

svelte
svelte

 Your obviously the brainwashed one, he neither "tried to get texas to seceed" nor did he or any member of his family paint any racial epithet on a rock, it was a hunting lease that they happened to got to with many other people and no one knows who painted the rock, it had been there for as long as anyone can remember.

 

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

 @svelte Well you got it part right.  He didn't actually suggest that TX secede from the union.  He did imply that secession was an option (which it isn't, but don't try to convince Texan Republicans of that).  If you claim he didn't imply that, then his PR team did a few weeks of backpedaling for nothing.

As for the sign on the rock, again you're correct, he didn't paint the epithet on there.  He was, however, politically near-sighted enough to leave it there.  In the political realm, omission of action to correct a wrong is de facto approval of said wrong.

cjensen5
cjensen5

Worried about defacing a racial epitaph.....bazinga, good one.  I'll bet Rick's PR guys wish they'd thought of that one.

svelte
svelte

 @RTGolden1 Yes you are mostly correct, on the second point I'm not sure it's legal to deface something you don't own, it should be the landowner to remove it or they could have either said something about it or found a different lease, but as a non-owner I'm not sure he could do anything about it.

 

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