Prop 6 would increase the maximum bond amount for the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas

AUSTIN (Nexstar) — A new poll shows 65 percent of Texas voters say they would be in favor of Proposition 6, which will renew bonds that fund the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) for the next decade.

The poll, commissioned by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, also shows 72 percent of voters in Texas say it is important to continue funding the work that CPRIT is doing through state tax dollars than ending the program. Different health groups have formed a coalition called Texans Fighting Cancer to remind voters of the issue. 

Texas voters approved $3 billion in funding for cancer research in 2007.

Recently retired State Rep. John Zerwas, R-Richmond, worked on two bills during the 86th Legislature to allow CPRIT to continue and to increase the maximum bond about for CPRIT to $6 billion. Legislators passed both bills and they were signed by Gov. Greg Abbott. Critics in prior legislative sessions have tried to make CPRIT self-sufficient with its funding instead of relying on taxpayer dollars, but those bills didn’t pass. 

“Supporting CPRIT’s work allows Texas to build on our momentum of scientific discoveries that will one day result in cures to the many diseases we call cancer,” Gov. Abbott said in a released statement. 

Experts at research universities credit CPRIT grant funding for helping them access high-level equipment and bring other scientists to their departments.  

“CPRIT actually has one of the most rigorous processes for grants to be submitted and reviewed,” Charlie Gagen, the Texas Grassroots Director for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, said. “Ninety percent of the money that CPRIT grants goes out towards the research. That’s research grants and recruiting scholars. Then 10 percent of the money goes directly towards prevention and early detection services.”

With more than five million uninsured Texans, Dr. Debra Patt, vice president and oncologist at Texas Oncology, says the prevention work taking place across the Lone Star State is critical. Patt chairs the Texas Medical Association’s Council on Legislation.

“Many patients in Texas don’t have access to primary prevention and secondary prevention screenings for cancers – breast, cervical, colon, lung and prostate cancer,” she said. “Many uninsured patients present late-stage cancers. It means cancer’s really deadly for them because they tend to present late-stage and die as a result of their disease.”

In addition to Gov. Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Speaker of the Texas House Dennis Bonnen are also voicing their support for CPRIT as well as Prop 6. 

“CPRIT has saved lives, attracted top cancer researchers to our state, and generated billions of dollars of private investment in Texas businesses and universities,” Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said in a released statement.

“Over 19,000 patients have received lifesaving treatment and resources through CPRIT, yet its future hangs in balance without the sustainable and reliable funding source that Proposition 6 would provide,” Speaker Bonnen said in a statement.

Voters will get to decide on Prop 6 this November.