Showing posts with label Texas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Texas. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas via 
2:24 PM (16 hours ago)
to me
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State of Texas Seal
CPRIT has been notified by Governor
Perry, Lt. Governor Dewhurst and
Speaker Straus that the moratorium
  on CPRIT’s grant award processes
has been lifted.

Over the last ten months CPRIT has
taken purposeful strides to strengthen
agency governance and restore trust
in its commitment to the fight against
 cancer in Texas. CPRIT appreciates
the confidence state leadership has
in the agency’s efforts – this action
marks a critical milestone for CPRIT.
We have been working hard in preparation
 for this moment and are ready to move
forward with deliberate purpose,
accountability and transparency to
 serve all Texans.

Staff will contact CPRIT grantees
affected by the moratorium to provide
additional information and next steps
 per this announcement. On November 1, 
2013, the CPRIT Oversight Committee
 will discuss restarting all of CPRIT’s review
processes including resuming review of
applications that have been submitted
and the release of new requests for

Monday, August 19, 2013

Broadening our local reach!

RE: Mayor Website Visitor Message

Herrera, Ramon <>
3:38 PM (1 hour ago)

to me
Dr. Kankonde,
Thank you for contacting the Office of the Mayor. We appreciate your input and always welcome your thoughts or concerns.
Ramon Herrera
Executive Assistant
Office of the Mayor

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Update on CPRIT Grant Moratorium

Update on CPRIT Grant Moratorium
In a March 19 letter to the Oversight Committee, the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Speaker of the House authorized CPRIT to move forward with the 25 researcher recruitment grants approved by the Oversight Committee in August and December 2012.
Once information becomes available regarding the remaining August and December awards that are awaiting final contracts, an update will be posted on CPRIT’s website.

The following is a statement released March 20 from Wayne Roberts, Interim Executive Director of CPRIT:

The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas has been informed that state leadership has authorized the agency to move forward with the 25 researcher recruitment grants approved by the CPRIT Oversight Committee in August and December. These grants have been awaiting final contracts, pursuant to the moratorium instituted by the Governor, Lt. Governor and Speaker on December 18. Each of these grants has been certified as being reviewed and approved using appropriate processes and procedures.

We are grateful to the Governor, Lt. Governor, and Speaker for allowing CPRIT to proceed with these important recruitment awards. We will continue to work with them and all members of the Legislature to make sure they have the information they need to determine how they want CPRIT to operate going forward.  We have worked hard to regain trust with our elected officials and the citizens of Texas. We take this action as evidence that some progress has been made and we will continue to work to strengthen this trust during the coming weeks and months.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013



Just got off the phone with a wife of a man with stage IIIB Penile cancer.  Their largest problem is not the cancer, but the lack of insurance and lack of money.  He needs Cisplatin, a drug older than myself, but can't afford it.  He has positive inguinal node but can't afford a consultation with the radiation therapy DR.  What to do?  As an Oncologist I am offering my service, but this is not going to save the man.
It is a time like this that challenges your soul, you just want to run from this misery of mind and hide!
It is a time like this that universal Insurance makes complete sense, but it will come too late for this one man!
If you can help, call our clinic 915-307- 3354!  And it is not the only case, I also have this 38 year old woman with unresectable Angiosarcomas in the liver.... same if you can help!

Monday, February 25, 2013

It is our understanding that this meeting was intended to wrap up paperwork with the winners of the last
round of CPRIT deliberations.  The giving of money is however still under moratorium.  I refuse to comment on the winners because it was the same old dance with the MD Anderson getting 42% of all contracts!
The meeting came under a lot of tension and uncertainty.  With news that there won't be an annual meeting at CPRIT this year.  With exclusion from the Texas budget in 2014 and 2015, CPRIT future is more than uncertain.  The dance seems to wrap up despite everybody's belief in the reason for CPRIT.
The leadership at CPRIT has been so shaken that we are still waiting to see new initiatives to depict and profile a new CPRIT.  The time would have been now to start a new posture and new direction.  Wrapping up old deals without showing a new organization was an opportunity missed.  Particularly when a new 1 Million Dollar contract is revealed to be just as fraudulently awarded as other previously described.  If you give me time and again money, I just may find my way to $100,000 furniture.  We are human after all!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Let's make 2013 more wholesome AND delicious

Dear Peggy,

Some of the best things in life start small.

Like the garlic cloves I plant. Buried about three inches into the fragrant earth, warmed by the late-Autumn sun, and protected from smothering weeds with the strength of my own hands.

Unfortunately, not all food we eat is treated with such care. Food that is convenient and cheap has overshadowed food that is healthy and fresh for far too long, and in every corner of the globe.

These foods aren't just fast. They favor efficiency over safety. Profit over health. Cheap labor over workers' rights. Mass production over the environment.

In running our own farm, my wife and I have chosen to support a different kind of food and farming. So have you – simply by receiving this email from Slow Food!

You can play an integral role in effecting the change we need to build this system. Making a tax-deductible $8 donation now means you'll be a part of a movement that demands more from our food producers.

With time, the garlic I planted last month will grow into fragrant bulbs, ripe with promise for a satisfying and flavorful meal. Supporting Slow Food offers a similar promise to farmers like me, who have boycotted unethical food production practices in order to make foods that are better for everyone.

And Slow Food supporters are not just advocating for small farms. We're also demanding better working conditions and quality products from large-scale food producers.

We're building community gardens that provide educational opportunities and a good source of food for community members.

We're ensuring that the plants we value so highly, from Harrison Cider apples to Burbank tomatoes, do not face extinction when confronted with waning biodiversity.

You've helped make this progress possible, and we need your help to continue these programs, and to establish new ones. Additional funding is critical – Slow Food must raise $80,000 in these last two days before the New Year to ensure we have the resources we need to do our work, and we're still $25,000 away from our goal.

Your tax-deductible $8 donation today will do so much to guarantee that Slow Food programs can stay strong in 2013 and beyond.

From cooking, to serving as a Slow Food governor, to growing food for my family and my community, I have spent my life working toward a more sustainable method of producing food.

And I've seen firsthand the impact advocates like you can have. You're the ones demanding more of your grocers, of your growers and of your government. You're the ones coming home every night to enjoy a meal with the people you care about. You're the ones making our food practices better for your families and for generations to come.

Let's help everyone enjoy that same right. Whether we're serving up a slow-roasted garlic soup or a handful of just-cracked pecans, we know a small thing can make a big impact.
Greg Boulos
Mid-Atlantic Regional Governor, Slow Food USA
P.S. I just want to take a moment to thank the current and past staff of Slow Food USA. Leadership in a movement like ours takes tireless dedication and a personal commitment that extends far deeper than any paycheck can inspire. Their passion is deep and it is in this spirit that we prepare the next generation of Slow Food leaders.
© 2012 Slow Food USA
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718.260.8000 |

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

"I say to you today, my friends that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream"

Christmas Reflections at CRBCM!

"I say to you today, my friends that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream" and with this dream we will rise again to fight another day because we have understood that as long as we live another day, a door may be opened again, another chance may come along, we got to stay prepared and keep looking forward for an opportunity.  There are in life many pits, but all have a bottom here on earth, and even in the darkness of those pits, as long as we live, our imagination will help us rise again.  It is our call, the cause is too important to quit.
Those who came before us have left these words because they lived the horrors of life, went through them and came out the other side still whole.  They left these words so that we do not give up, but instead keep strategizing even when faced by a wall of negative forces.  We need to keep on advancing because only positive steps can generate new consequences.  Not doing a thing is to lose control of the outcome.  So at CRBCM we believe in new steps until life is irreversibly taken from us.  So in these Christmas days, let celebrate persistence and resolve.  What we fight against will not go away until we stand up to it!  Merry Christmas to all.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Imperial Innovations Pumps $26.5 Million into Cell Medica

7/23/2012 6:53:14 AM

London, UK – 23 July 2012: Cell Medica, a leading cell therapeutics company, today announced it has secured a £17 million ($26.5 million) equity investment to launch new operations in Texas focussing on cancer immunotherapy and to continue development of its immune reconstitution cell therapies in Europe. The financing includes new investment from Invesco Perpetual and Imperial Innovations alongside a previously announced Commercialisation (Relocation) Award from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT). Contemporaneous with the financing, the Wellcome Trust will become a shareholder in the Company through conversion of a loan security into equity.
The equity capital will finance a significant build-up of the Company’s operations in both the United States and Europe. As part of this strategy, existing director Dr. Thomas Hecht will assume the Chairman’s role while the current Chairman Nigel Burns will carry on as a non-executive Director. Dr. Hecht brings significant experience to the role of Chairman through his involvement in other early stage biotech companies and his previous role as a senior executive in Amgen’s European Operations.
The CPRIT investment, previously announced at $15.3 million, will fund the Texas-based clinical development of a promising cancer immunotherapy technology (CytorexTM EBV) which the Company has licensed from the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, The Methodist Hospital and Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, Texas (BCM CAGT). Cytorex EBV represents a novel approach to treating cancers associated with the oncogenic Epstein Barr Virus (EBV). To execute the US cancer immunotherapy plan, Cell Medica will establish commercial operations in Texas and relocate a substantial part of its headquarters to the Texas-based company. In Europe, the additional investment will finance Cell Medica’s commercialisation programme focussing on its immune reconstitution products including CytovirTM CMV and Cytovir ADV. Comprised of specific immune cells referred to as T cells, the Cytovir product family prevents viral infections by reconstituting natural cell-mediated immunity in patients who are profoundly immunosuppressed after bone marrow transplantation. Treating viral infections through immune reconstitution represents a unique benefit of the Cytovir cell therapy approach which cannot be matched by antiviral drugs. The market launch of Cytovir CMV is targeted for 2013 following completion of the first of two Company-sponsored randomised controlled trials ongoing in the UK. The Cytovir ADV clinical development programme will be initiated with a Phase I/II trial later in 2012.
Dr. Thomas Hecht, newly-appointed Chairman said, “I am very pleased to take on the role of Chairman as Cell Medica enters this very exciting phase of international growth and development. We have brought together a very special group of investors who are supporting an expert team and well considered plan to realise the significant clinical potential of patient-specific cell therapeutics.”
Gregg Sando, CEO and Founder of Cell Medica, said, “The launch of our US cancer immunotherapy operations represents a key step in the execution of Cell Medica’s business plan and we are very fortunate to have CPRIT as a core investor supporting the operations being set up in Texas. We will be expanding our management team both in the US and Europe to deliver on our current product programmes and to secure a leadership position in cell therapeutics for cancer and infectious diseases.”
About Cell Medica
Cell Medica is a cell therapeutics company engaged in the development, manufacture, marketing and distribution of cell-based products for immune reconstitution and cancer. The Company’s Cytovir product family for immune reconstitution targets the prevention and treatment of infections caused by latent viruses in immunosuppressed patients following allogeneic haematopoietic stem cell (bone marrow) transplant. In the field of cancer immunotherapy, Cell Medica is targeting a range of cancers associated with the oncogenic Epstein Barr Virus (EBV).
Cell Medica is currently sponsoring two ground-breaking randomised controlled clinical studies to investigate the use of Cytovir CMV to prevent and treat cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection following bone marrow transplantation. The CMV~IMPACT Study is funded by a Translation Award by the Wellcome Trust and the CMV~ACE/ASPECT Study which is funded, in part, by a grant to the University of Birmingham from Leukaemia Lymphoma Research. The Chief Investigator of both studies is Dr Karl Peggs, University College London Hospital. Cell Medica’s commercialisation plan for Cytovir CMV follows academic research from members of its Scientific Advisory Broad and others which has shown the safety and efficacy of adoptive cell therapy based. Cytovir CMV is comprised of immune cells, specifically T cells, which are purified from the donor who provided the bone marrow tissue (haematopoietic stem cells). Following the bone marrow transplant, Cytovir CMV is infused into the patient to reconstitute immunity to CMV. 1,2,3 Cytovir ADV is for the treatment of adenovirus (ADV) infections in paediatric patients following bone marrow transplantation. For high risk paediatric patients undergoing transplant from unrelated or mismatched donors, adenovirus infection causes mortality in up to 30% of cases. There is no approved antiviral treatment for adenovirus infections in this patient group. Cytovir ADV is comprised of ADV-specific T cells selected and expanded from the donor providing the bone marrow tissue (haematopoietic stem cells) to the patient. The cell therapy is administered post transplant to reconstitute immunity against adenovirus infection. The Cytovir ADV development programme will be initiated in 2012 with the launch of a Phase I/II Trial conducted at the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London and is funded by the Technology Strategy Board through its “Developing Therapeutics” research programme.
Cell Medica’s cell-based cancer technology has been under development for over 15 years by the senior team at the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM CAGT), The Methodist Hospital and Texas Children’s Hospital. Published data from the World Health Organisation indicates that up to 18% of all cancers are associated with infection from pathogens, including cervical cancer (Human Papilloma Virus), hepatocellular carcinoma (Hepatitis B and C Virus) and a range of cancers including lymphoma, nasopharyngeal carcinoma and gastric carcinoma which are associated with the Epstein Barr Virus (EBV). Following primary infection which is usually easily controlled in individuals with healthy immune systems, EBV remains in the body in a latent state within specific cell populations including lymphocytes and epithelial cells of the nasopharynx region. When malignancies occur within cells harbouring EBV on a latent basis, the cancerous cells will express EBV antigens which can be used as biomarkers for a targeted cancer therapy. Cell Medica and BCM CAGT have together developed Cytorex EBV which is a commercial version of a prototype academic product comprised of activated, antigen-focused and expanded EBV-specific T cells which can be produced from a single patient blood sample. When re-infused into the patient, Cytorex EBV selectively targets malignant cells expressing EBV antigens4. Building on BCM CAGT’s long record of academic clinical research, Cell Medica will undertake a development programme aimed at regulatory approval for this cell therapy in patients with extranodal NK/T cell lymphoma (ENKTL). Current chemotherapy regimens for patients with advanced ENKTL are associated with high levels of toxicity and limited efficacy.
Additional information can be found on the Company’s website:
About Dr. Thomas Hecht
Dr Hecht was previously Vice President Marketing at Amgen Europe, Lucerne, Switzerland. An experienced manager and industry professional, he has held various positions in clinical development, medical affairs and marketing at Amgen between 1989 and 2002. Prior to joining the biopharmaceutical industry, he qualified in internal medicine and served as Co-Head of the Program for Bone Marrow Transplantation, University of Freiburg, Germany. Today, he provides services to the pharmaceutical industry in clinical development/marketing and licensing strategies through HHC, a biopharmaceutical consulting company founded in 2002. He also serves as Chairman of the Boards of Delenex, Affimed Therapeutics AG, Cytos Biotechnology AG and of the supervisory council of SuppreMol GmbH. With the acquisition by Alcon, he stepped down from the Chairmanship of ESBATech AG.
Texas voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment in 2007 establishing CPRIT and authorizing the state to issue $3 billion in bonds to fund groundbreaking cancer research and prevention programs and services in Texas. CPRIT’s goal is to expedite innovation and commercialization in the area of cancer research and to enhance access to evidence-based prevention programs and services throughout the state. CPRIT accepts applications and awards grants for a wide variety of cancer-related research and for the delivery of cancer prevention programs and services by public and private entities located in Texas. More information about CPRIT is available on its website,
About Invesco Perpetual
Invesco Perpetual is part of Invesco Ltd, a leading independent global investment manager, dedicated to helping investors worldwide achieve their financial objectives. By delivering the combined power of our distinctive investment management capabilities, Invesco provides a wide range of investment strategies and vehicles to our retail, institutional and high net worth clients around the world.
About Imperial Innovations
Innovations creates, builds and invests in pioneering university technologies addressing global problems in healthcare, energy, engineering and the environment. It combines deep understanding of science and technology with commercial acumen and strong investment expertise.
Innovations supports scientist-entrepreneurs in the commercialisation of their ideas by:
• leading the formation of new companies and providing facilities in the early stages
• providing significant investment and encouraging co-investment to accelerate the transition from R&D to products
• providing operational expertise
• helping to recruit high-calibre industry figures and experienced entrepreneurs as executive management and Board members
Innovations invests in companies based on technologies from or associated with four universities: Imperial College London; and Cambridge University, Oxford University, and UCL supported by its collaborations with Cambridge Enterprise, OSEM and UCL Business. These are the UK’s leading research intensive universities, measured by research income.
By raising £140 million in January 2011, Innovations has been able to accelerate the making of, and increase the size of its investments. In the year to 31 July 2011, Innovations invested £35.1 million (2010: £14 million) in 23 ventures, and launched six new companies.
In its current portfolio of 78 companies, Innovations’ most advanced assets include Circassia, which develops innovative vaccines for the treatment of a wide range of allergies; and Nexeon, a battery materials and licensing company which develops silicon anodes which extend the life and increase the capacity of lithium-ion batteries.
About the Wellcome Trust
The Wellcome Trust is a global charitable foundation dedicated to achieving extraordinary improvements in human and animal health. It supports the brightest minds in biomedical research and the medical humanities. The Trust's breadth of support includes public engagement, education and the application of research to improve health. It is independent of both political and commercial interests.
Scientific References
1Walter E, Greenberg P, Gilbert M, Finch R, Watanabe K, Thomas E and S Riddell. Reconstitution of cellular immunity against cytomegalovirus in recipients of allogeneic bone marrow by transfer of T cell clones from the donor. N. Engl. J. Med. 1995; (333): pp1038-1044.
2Peggs KS, Verfuerth S, Pizzey A, Chow S-LC, Thomson K, Mackinnon S. Cytomegalovirus-specific T cell immunotherapy promotes restoration of durable functional antiviral immunity following allogeneic stem cell transplantation. Clinical Infectious Diseases 2009; 49 (15 December):pp1851-60
3Mackinnon S, Thomson K, Verfuerth S, Peggs K, Lowdell M. Adoptive cellular therapy for cytomegalovirus infection following allogeneic stem cell transplantation using virus-specific T cells. Blood Cells, Molecules, and Diseases 40. 2008: pp63-67
4Bollard CM, Gottschalk S, Leen AM, Weiss H, Straathof KC, Carrum G, Khalil M, Wu M, Huls MH, Chang C, Gresik MV, Gee AP, Brenner MK, Rooney CM, Heslop HE. Complete responses of relapsed lymphoma following genetic modification of tumor-antigen presenting cells and T-lymphocyte transfer. Blood. 2007 110: 2838-2845
For more information, please contact:
Gregg Sando
Cell Medica Limited
+44 (0)20 7554 4070


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

El Paso non-existent on CPRIT Funding MAP

It is shocking to see, once again, that El Paso finds itself completely excluded from the Texas map of the Funding granted by CPRIT, the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas.
                                              We intend to put El Paso on the Map again!