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Lawmakers want new rules for CPRIT

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TWC News: Lawmakers want new rules for CPRIT
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The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas could soon be looking for money.

Republican State Senator Kevin Eltife from Tyler wants to stop funding CPRIT with the sale of bonds—something he’s opposed since the organization was founding.

"In my opinion if it's worth funding it should come out of general revenue and fund it on a yearly basis. To go $3 billion in debt makes no sense to me," Sen. Eltife said.

He has now filed a bill which would require the agency to compete for funds.

To date, almost one billion in taxpayer dollars have been handed out in the way of cancer research and commercialization grants. Sen. Eltife says bond funding lacks transparency.

"This agency would be held much more accountable if they had to come before finance and appropriations and ask for their money,” he said. "I think we would watch their spending a lot closer and the grants they are awarded.”

CPRIT is currently under criminal and civil investigation for an $11 million grant given to startup company Peloton Therapeutics. CPRIT internal documents reveal the Peloton application did not go through proper scientific and commercial review.

"There is a lot of people making the effort to clean up the process," Sen. Eltife said.

Late Wednesday, the Travis County District Attorney's Office released a statement saying the "CPRIT investigation is ongoing and aggressive."

And in the meantime, CPRIT funds are on hold.

State Senators Jane Nelson and Wendy Davis both plan to file legislation to better hold CPRIT accountable.

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