Showing posts with label cprit. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cprit. Show all posts

Monday, November 4, 2013

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State of Texas Seal
CPRIT’s Oversight Committee met November 1 for the first time since February beginning a new era for the agency – one with a higher level of transparency, improved processes and strengthened accountability to the taxpayers of Texas. As I reported to the Oversight Committee, in addition to provisions in SB 149 which modified CPRIT’s enabling legislation, the agency has taken action to implement all 41 of the State Auditor’s January 2013 recommendations.

We accomplished a number of important items at the meeting that will allow CPRIT’s work to move forward. We also began our commitment to transparency by holding the meeting at the State Capitol and streaming the meeting live over the web – a first for CPRIT. Within days, we’ll post a video of the proceedings to our website as well. Major actions of the Oversight Committee include:
  • Adopting new bylaws for how the Oversight Committee will operate as a governing body, including an updated code of conduct. These bylaws indicate the Oversight Committee commitment to operating with the highest level of integrity;
  • Posting revised administrative rules to the Texas Register for public comment. The rules expanded from 40 to over 120 pages, and implement many of the State Auditor’s recommendations as well as other process and accountability improvements;
  • Restarting our grantmaking process, including the approval of Scientific Review Council appointees. This action allows CPRIT to resume review of grants and enable healthcare and medical professionals to apply for new grants. We expect additional steps at the next Oversight Committee meeting scheduled for November 22, 2013. At that session, I anticipate discussion about research and prevention program priorities, and a number of other actions important to our continuing operations.
I want to express my gratitude to the members of the 83rd Legislature and their staffs, state leadership offices and CPRIT staff for getting us to November 1. The new Oversight Committee came to the meeting well-prepared and eager to resume the important responsibilities assigned to CPRIT by the citizens of Texas.

It’s nice to be back at work!


Wayne R. Roberts
Interim Executive Director
Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas
P.O. Box 12097
Austin, Texas 78711

Thursday, October 31, 2013


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State of Texas Seal
The CPRIT Oversight Committee meeting this Friday, November 1, 2013 will be broadcast live online. To access the livestream of the meeting, please click here.

Please note, to view the broadcast, you will need to have the basic RealPlayer installed, which can be downloaded for free from:

The meeting agenda and supporting materials are available on the CPRIT website.
CPRIT Oversight Committee Meeting
Texas State Capitol Extension

1400 N. Congress Avenue, Austin, Texas 78701

 Room: E1.012

November 1, 2013

9:00 A.M.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas via 
2:24 PM (16 hours ago)
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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

Sunday, April 21, 2013

CPRIT: A former congressman joined its board

CPRIT: A former congressman joined its board

PETE GEREN  a well known  former Democratic congressman from the Fort Worth counties, has been named to the CPRIT governing board.  He will bring much needed dynamism and fortitude to CPRIT.
He was nominated by the Speaker of the House of Representative Joe Straus to replace TOM LUCE who is now the new chief operating officer of the O’Donnell Foundation since April 1st, 2013.  The Dallas foundation of philanthropist Peter O’Donnell and his wife Edith, is reported to have contributed more than $600 million over the past 30 years to support scientific research and education.  Their link to CPRIT has been controversial at best!
In other related news, Jay Maguire, a lobbyist with long ties to Tobacco companies, was hired 3 months ago by the CPRIT Foundation, now called the Texas Cancer Coalition.
Observers have been proud of changes and the new direction that CPRIT has taken overall. We wish this important organization for Texas well!

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.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

CPRIT, a flawed organization?

CPRIT, a great organization in principle, but fundamentally flawed or skewed. By now we know it is a university funding organization.  The idea that CPRIT will ever become what it was imagined to be has been irreversibly given a blow to the cheek.  It still is to be known that it will ever recover. Its funding shackled by politicians who now own this dream-like organization!
And this is very unfortunate because there is increasing evidence that cancer is curable as target therapy has opened a new round of successful therapies. The CPRIT debacle has left deep wounds and critics see in the remnant a living organization bent on continuing the same dance!  The abrupt closure of a few fictitious companies is a tell-tale sign of what is to come unless an uninvolved  visionary leader takes control. Political appointees are unfortunately what we see.  And the objectivity and look from the outside is lost, new wind is not coming and CPRIT's old culture stays the same!  All we will see is a tighter dance, but globally the same dance. Cancer Cure will escape the people one more time!

New researchers are coming to CPRIT backed Universities, but every university has a culture and pressures that shape these researchers.  And the old CPRIT failed to control the events happening after money had been given. Nothing tells the observer that those changes have been put in place.  We know by now that CPRIT is an exclusive university funding source by design (reviewers have strong university ties and see the world in this light and prism) and that the private medical and research sector is excluded.  We should not mention our organization, we have been technically banned given our criticism...CPRIT only wants to hear good things!  But the truth is that it is refusing to hear what would and could make it a grand organization. CPRIT's responsibilities should not stop with the granting of funds, but making sure the implemented projects match CPRIT's objectives and policies even deep into the course of the projects' implementation. That fix has not occurred.  The risk is to end up with disparate and  futile findings (probably commercial). When you look around, there are antibodies commercially available everywhere, however no one is using them in a cohesive plan, and without its own plan for the cure, CPRIT is at the mercy of Universities. And these politicians at the head of CPRIT WILL NOT SEE THE DANGER OF BEING PULLED ONE WAY OR THE OTHER BY POWERFUL UNIVERSITIES.  CPRIT needs to pull away from this cosyness with Universities to achieve its goal quicker. It is playing safe by relying on Universities, but it is loosing its own perspective and is positioning  itself further as being only a university instrument ripe for another round of "cleaner" abuses.

Friday, March 15, 2013

CPRIT: At its February 25, 2013 meeting, the CPRIT Oversight Committee approved proposed changes to existing agency rules and the addition of three new rules

so you know:

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Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas
At its February 25, 2013 meeting, the CPRIT Oversight Committee approved proposed changes to existing agency rules and the addition of three new rules.  The changes proposed are designed to implement many of the State Auditor’s recommendations concerning ethics, conflicts of interest, grant review and documentation of the agency’s grant processes.

The proposed rule changes and new rules appear in the March 15, 2013 edition of the Texas Register.  Public comment is accepted for 30 days following publication and is due no later than 5:00 pm on April 15, 2013.  At its meeting in late April, the Oversight Committee expects to consider final rules reflecting the comments received.

Individuals or organizations interested in providing input on the rule changes and new rules may do so by sending written comments to Ms. Kristen Pauling Doyle, General Counsel, Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, P. O. Box 12097, Austin, Texas 78711.  Comments may also be submitted electronically to or by facsimile transmission to 512/475-2563.  Comments must be received no later than 5:00 pm on April 15, 2013.

News from the CPRIT

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Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas
At its February 25, 2013 meeting, the CPRIT Oversight Committee approved proposed changes to existing agency rules and the addition of three new rules.  The changes proposed are designed to implement many of the State Auditor’s recommendations concerning ethics, conflicts of interest, grant review and documentation of the agency’s grant processes.

The proposed rule changes and new rules appear in the March 15, 2013 edition of the Texas Register.  Public comment is accepted for 30 days following publication and is due no later than 5:00 pm on April 15, 2013.  At its meeting in late April, the Oversight Committee expects to consider final rules reflecting the comments received.

Individuals or organizations interested in providing input on the rule changes and new rules may do so by sending written comments to Ms. Kristen Pauling Doyle, General Counsel, Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, P. O. Box 12097, Austin, Texas 78711.  Comments may also be submitted electronically to or by facsimile transmission to 512/475-2563.  Comments must be received no later than 5:00 pm on April 15, 2013.

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Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas
211 E 7th Street Ste 300
Austin, Texas 78701

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Copyright (C) 2013 Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas All rights reserved.

Sunday, March 3, 2013


With the increased need for cancer genetic studies, there is an increasing need of a Tissue bank in El Paso.
This town is at the border with Mexico has somewhat of an homogeneous population of a minority population which is most of the time under-represented in most clinical trials.  Here, 80% of the population is Hispanic, therefore increasing the chance to have a nice homogenous cohort for clinical trials in a minority population.  We have completed a study on risk factors for Breast cancer as perceived by the local population.  Full Analysis is awaiting funding.  Data is still sitting in the office while we are busy seeing and helping patients to survive.  A recent Collaboration with the UTEP (University of Texas in El Paso) statistics laboratory will relaunch this and maybe we will then be able to publish the full study.
Risk perception here is very much influenced by the local culture and practices centered on "family" and "religion".
The UTEP Border Biomedical Research Center has a clean cell line maintained, but they want to do more.  But we are here in a low income city and easily ignored.  President Obama stopped by last year and the city voted for him, but nothing else has happened much since.  CPRIT gave 0.2% of its cancer research funding to the 4th largest City in Texas, EL PASO, a city of 800,000 people! That is all we get: a glance from Authorities!  El Paso is largely ignored.  El Paso Women had to organize a sit-out in protest in front of the White House last year.  They were basically ignored and dismissed with political promises that have never materialized.

We need a Tissue bank here in El Paso, everybody knows it, but brushes it off!

The city is home to Fort Bliss, undoubtedly the largest military base receiving most likely the largest portion of returning soldiers.  But the medical facilities here are rather modest, fraught with financial issues and a hesitant medical leadership!  Even the needed new Beaumont Hospital construction is tied up in court with contractors fighting over the opportunities instead of being built!

We need a tissue bank, if you know any one who can help....! call 915-307-3354

Random News: MELATONIN and NIH GrantsInfo


*Melatonin which helps with sleep at 3mg, was tested at 20 mg to see if it could help to stop or delay cachexia.  It was not different then placebo.  Case closed. IT FAILED!


*We have shown that in the united states more than 3000 African women could be saved yearly if the Breast cancer paradox (low incidence, but high mortality) was corrected by the institution of a comprehensive prevention program.  Well, things are getting worse as recent studies continue to show a decrease of screening in world of corruption and politics.  At CPRIT, they want Commercialization.  The NIH is heavily political.  Just look at a recent submission response:

Thank you for your e-mail to GrantsInfo at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  We provide general information about NIH extramural medical and behavioral research, research training programs, and the grant application process.
I suggest you discuss potential funding of your project with the appropriate Scientific/Research staff linked in the announcement’s Section VII:
Regards from GrantsInfo
Linking you to NIH Funding

This is an automatic reply when you submit a project
no referral to some review board
they will keep you going here and there
leading nowhere because they have their political friends to award money to. another example, not here go somewhere else!

Dear Dr. Kankonde,

In the table shown below, you will find all currently active NIH funding opportunities related to support of tissue, specimen, and biospecimen banks.  It does not appear that there is any specific funding opportunity that will work for your purposes.  You can search further in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts by going to  You might also try to connect and collaborate with scientists and pathologists who have mutual interests to find out if your proposed tissue bank might be supported through affiliation with a large research program (e.g., medical center, cancer center, program project, clinical trials network/consortium, special program of research excellence, epidemiology/population cohort, etc.)

Good luck with your efforts.

Comment: and it goes on and on, you get nowhere and after many attempts, you just give up (but at the CRBCM, we do never give up!)

It is a rough world, and they claim to help, but indeed they try to discourage any pursuit of new research and prevention with good old political tactics!

Thursday, February 28, 2013


The foundation has been deemed a NON Government body by the District Attorney.
A senator had requested that files from the CPRIT Foundation be opened under Disclosure rules and the Foundation had refused to comply, claiming it was a non government institution because of its private funding source.  The district Attorney was asked to rule on the matter.  Now she has ruled for the foundation.
Reportedly, the Senator has not given up and has requested the Senate make the foundation a Government institution.  We at CRBCM are just watching the power play.  These games will just delay the fight for the CURE (if any).  Meanwhile budget discussion for new funding for CPRIT was once again by-passed, and the remaining 183 Million $ are still frozen.  There is a growing concern about the future of CPRIT and Health programs are caught in this messy uncertainty!
2 major officials are still waiting to be deposed by investigators while the criminal investigation is ongoing! They reportedly were not heard by the senate because doing so would have given them automatic immunity protections.

The Audit is still ongoing and still discovering new irregularities, with over 300 more funded projects to review, they have their work cut out!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


I hate it when people are right when they comment about how corrupt this world is.  And this one friend has been right every time although in my deep soul I want to give credit to the the goodness of human beings.  Speaking today, my friend asked me what I was doing.  "writing for a new grant application for the NIH", I replied proudly.  "you are wasting your time" he replied. "I was at NIH, most of the grant request are written with a beneficiary in mind".  He recalled being called by his supervisor in the office, and being asked to write a grant request before the Request for Application (RFA) got released.  In fact most RFA are specifically written to mach perfectly a known project.  The public is let to believe that the RFA comes first.  The public researcher is mislead and is used to fill the book, be included is the statistic for publicity stunt.  The Public is used to show a large number of participants.  The true winners are known in advance.  They sometime participate to the writing of the RFA.  The world is corrupt.
The NIH is not the only organization filled with politics, CPRIT was so bad they got caught.
At CPRIT, your chance of participating and winning was less then winning at the Powerball. RFA were written after consultation at MD Anderson first, and the other universities were following.  In fact it was ridiculous to be far from Houston and Austin, and yet be aware of the fights between who came from what university.  The fight is going to rekindle soon after the moratorium is lifted.  Your chance to get a grant if you are a small independent business close to 1 percent.  MD Anderson 50%, Baylor 20% followed by other Universities.
El Paso (4th city population wise) is in a hard predicament.  Its leadership has been stolen by a smaller city.  If you are a business from El Paso,  your chance for research funding from CPRIT is 0.2%.  A fictitious company from Houston got about 20 times the global funding given to El Paso as a whole.  The company had even a bogus web site.  Basically, you had to be blind to fund this thing!  Who was behind such a fraud, I refuse to say.  Suffice is to say that officials at the company were using golden furniture!  No, it was bad!  And of course they folded as soon as scrutiny came!
Now let's see what will come out of this bloody nose Texas tax-payers got.

What hurts is that you want to believe in the goodness of people.  But the grant giving is so politically twisted that my friend is right.  Why waste the time writing proposals when you know the game is tricked and skewed! But if you don't participate they win 100%, and the audits that will come will not find the normal to compare to.  Yes, we agree to be vain participants because that's our role in this charade!

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!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Keep CPRIT focused on research
Updated 4:17 pm, Wednesday, January 30, 2013
For a politician who once said that government should “trust capital markets and (the) private sector to make the decisions, and let the consumers pick winners and losers,” Gov. Rick Perry certainly has had a change of heart.
As a candidate seeking the Republican presidential nomination, Perry was critical of the idea that government can create jobs and opposed government transfers of wealth. As governor of Texas, it's a different story.
Perry has been a staunch advocate of the Texas Enterprise Fund and the Emerging Technology Fund as tools for economic development. Taxpayer dollars bankroll both funds which, as the governor's website describes the Texas Enterprise Fund, “help attract new jobs and investment to the state.”
Perry's job creation claims, however, haven't stood up to scrutiny. His manipulation of the Texas Enterprise Fund, including circumvention of the fund's advisory panel to award $50 million to a controversial project at Texas A&M University, his alma mater, and the distribution of grants to a large number of companies whose principals are significant donors to his campaigns earned Perry charges of “crony capitalism” from his GOP competitors.
That sketchy history is enough to oppose Perry's efforts to transform the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas into another public investment vehicle from which, he told the Houston Chronicle, “wealth can be created.” What's worse, changing CPRIT's mission to commercialization and wealth creation amounts to a bait and switch with taxpayers.
Voters approved up to $3 billion for CPRIT in 2007 with the understanding that it would fund “research in Texas to find the causes of and cures for cancer.” The ballot measure, Proposition 15, said nothing about commercialization.
CPRIT's grant-making process is already a source of controversy. The institute's leaders and lawmakers should resist pressure from Perry to shift CPRIT's mission away from basic research. When it comes to commercializing cures and treatments, let the market of medical professionals and cancer patients pick winners and losers.

Thursday, February 21, 2013


Oversight Committee Meeting - February 25, 2013

Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas via 
8:05 AM (6 hours ago)

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Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas
Notice of Open Meeting:
Monday, February 25, 2013, 11:30 AM
Texas Medical Association, Thompson Auditorium, 1st Floor
401 West 15th Street
Austin, TX 78701
For more information, please call:
(512) 463-3190
Please forward this announcement to your networks.

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Our mailing address is:
Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas
211 E 7th Street Ste 300
Austin, Texas 78701

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Copyright (C) 2013 Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas All rights reserved.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


Renal cell cancer risk is associated to smoking and Obesity (hypertension is a corollary risk we claim).   These 2 conditions lead to Hypoxia generally through sleep Apnea  which in turn leads to a relative increase of Hemoglobin. The rise of Hemoglobin increases the portion of Desaturated hemoglobin. After many years of such exposure desaturated Heme enhances Phosphorylation at Tyr-530 of the SRC leading to its deactivation. In some individuals with the right MEK, suppression pf the SRC could lead to persistent amplification at the MEK which is a versatile activator of almost all signals, but particularly VEGF receptor.  This in turn usually lead to papillary cancers. Amplification of signal transduction started at the MEK (which amplifies almost all major known pathways) will lead to increased ubiquitination and proteasome destruction of the HYPOXIA-inducible factor  (following the Von Hippel-Lindau model.  This will lead to clear cell cancer. Associated desaturated Heme and hypoxia at the mitochondria will participate in the transformation (and possibly the Atypia/clear cell transformation).  The preponderance and center piece role of MEK amplification and subsequent VGEF/PDGF will justify the "bloody" nature of kidney cancers, and vessel involvement in these diseases  (MEK is the driver Mutation in papillary cancers).  IT ALSO EXPLAINS WHY SUTENT, NEXAVAR WORKS.  AND MITOCHONDRIAL DISTURBANCES AND SECONDARY AMPLIFICATION OF AKT, THE MTOR INHIBITORS WORK IN RENAL CANCERS  (MTOR participates more in clear cells)  (proof of concept pending)

In Western society, obesity is increasing, and so is Sleep Apnea.  Also, we live in closed homes (in some regions such as Texas and Louisiana, Mosquitoes are not helping) the level of dust participates in the increased level of allergic Rhinitis/ upper respiratory ailments.  It is not unusual to sleep and wake with closed Nostrils.  In obese individuals, this compounds the hypoxic episodes and worsened and prolonged hypoxia.  And we are back to depression of SRC, activation of MEK---akt, MAPK and so forth.
Keeping your nostrils open at night appears to be a critical strategy in preventing renal cancer, particularly in patients with breathing issues.   Lung cancer may be reduced for non smokers, but I wont touch that speculation, but do remember the role of VEGF in non-smoker lung cancers!

The involvement of PDGF which is by the way affected by Sutent seems to open a window in the frequency of strokes and heart attacks at night!  That's another debate to have...!

MTOR inhibitor in combination with Anti-VGEF/ MEK could have a significant role in non smoker lung cancer.?
Velcade could have a role in VHL prevention ? and in Pheochromocytoma?

Avastin and Mtor inhibitor could treat Leiomysarcoma of the Uterus if you follow this logic!


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

CPRIT Foundation releases donor list

Reporter- Houston Business Journal
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The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas Foundation — the nonprofit that adds to the salaries of CPRIT executives — on Thursday released a copy of its donor list, which shows big-name companies like Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars over the past three years.
To view the full list in PDF form, click here.
Lawmakers, in a December Texas House Committee Meeting, voiced concern over opaqueness at the CPRIT Foundation. More hearings are supposed to take place, and an auditor report is due this month.
Meanwhile, the future of the $3 billion institute seems uncertain. Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Speaker Joe Straus sent a letter last month to CPRIT's Oversight Committee calling on the agency to fully address concerns that have been raised about the organization.
Jimmy Mansour, the committee's chairman, and Dr. Joseph Bailes, the vice chairman, issued a joint statement Dec. 19 endorsing the call for a moratorium on CPRIT grants until public confidence has been restored.
Bayan Raji covers health care.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas and CPRIT Foundation

in Texas.CPRIT

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CPRIT Foundation
As I am sure you are aware, recent media reports have raised issues
 and concerns about the operations of the Cancer Prevention and 
Research Institute (CPRIT) and its relationship to the CPRIT Foundation.
  As those stories have come to light, Texas legislators and members
 of the media have asked us to release the names of our donors and the amounts of their contributions.  Thus far, we have honored the 
Donors’ Bill of Rights we adopted to protect your privacy and 

However, the Executive Director of the Institute has received the 

same requests and has now formally asked that we provide him that information.  We feel it is important to comply.  This list of all 
donors’ names and contributions will be sent to state leadership,
 legislators, and the media later this week.

Under the circumstances, we believe it is in the best interests of CPRIT to release these names.  It is important to avoid even the appearance of impropriety and to protect the integrity of the institute.

We wanted you to know in advance that we are taking this action.  

As a reminder, if you were a sponsor of one of our events or the annual conference you have already been listed publicly (signage, programs, 
 etc.) as a donor to the Foundation.

Thank you for your contributions in support of the CPRIT Foundation.  Through your generosity, we are able to provide crucial 

financial assistance for the groundbreaking, lifesaving work in all areas
 of cancer prevention and research being done through the Cancer 
Prevention and Research Institute of Texas and we look forward to 
 continuing this important work in the future.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.

Jennifer Stevens
Executive Director
CPRIT Foundation
Copyright © 2013 CPRIT Foundation, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you opted in at our website or are a friend of CPRIT.
Our mailing address is:
CPRIT Foundation
P.O. Box 12631
Austin, TX 78711

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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