Thursday, September 24, 2009

The CPRIT of Aggieland

Sent to campus email today:
Subject: Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) and Emerging Technology Fund (ETF) Briefing

Date: September 28, 2009
Time: 1:00 - 4:00 pm
CPRIT: 1:00 - 2:30 pm
ETF: 2:30 - 4:00 pm
Location: Amphitheater, Texas A&M Institute for Preclinical Studies
800 Stotzer Parkway, Bldg. 1904, 979-847-8477
Parking: Behind the building (map included)

Leadership from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) and the Emerging Technology Fund (ETF) will be on campus Monday, September 28, to provide information updates about these programs. Attending will be:

Alan Kirchhoff - Director of the Emerging Technology Fund
David Nance - Executive Director, Innovate Texas Foundation
Ryan Confer - Director of Operations, Innovate Texas Foundation
Bob Pearson - Chairman of ETF Advisory Committee

Dr. William (Bill) Gimson, Executive Director, CPRIT
Dr. Alfred (Al) Gilman, Chief Scientific Officer of CPRIT
Dr. Rebecca (Becky) Garcia, Chief Prevention Officer, CPRIT
Ms. Heidi McConnell, Office of the Governor

You are invited to attend the briefing and meet key CPRIT/ETF staff members and learn how to apply for CPRIT and ETF funding. Breakout rooms will be available for you to meet one-on-one with both CPRIT and ETF staff regarding your specific research interests.

Teleconferencing capabilities will be available at all campuses for those who are unable to attend the briefing. You will receive information listing the remote TTVN locations shortly.

CPRIT is the Texas initiative to spend $3B over 10 years on cancer research. Al Gilman, the CSO of CPRIT, is a Nobel prize winner from UT Southwestern who described what they want to do to Science earlier this year (pdf at the CPRIT site)
Q: Is there going to be any attempt at geographic diversity?
A.G.: Not much. (Laughs.) I’ve said a pretty consistent line here that I’m going to take the politics out of this.
What's the point of having an Aggie governor if politics can't steer CPRIT money to A&M? Vision 1920 is confident that the ETF folks know who where their loyalties belong.
But if you look at the data, roughly half of NCI [National Cancer Institute]funding in Texas goes to M. D. Anderson [Cancer Center]. All of the UT components account for about 75% of NCI funding in the state. Now add Baylor [College of Medicine], and you are at about 90%. So that’s not evenly distributed geographically. It’s based on peer review. And so I think it will shake out roughly that way.
According to the NIH reporting tool, there are 1,406 NCI awards to Texas. 22 of them are listed as being in the 17th Congressional district, which includes A&M. Of these, 2 are to Lynntech, a local company. That's about 1.5% for A&M. If even if we only get that share of the CPRIT funding, it works out to about $4.5 million per year.
But I think the high-risk, high-impact program will provide opportunities for people in smaller schools to compete. A great idea can come from anyplace.
Smaller schools?!!

Vision 1920 is confident that Dr. Gilman will be impressed by the kinds of great ideas for biotech we embrace here at TAMU. After all, David Nance, who is on the ETF part of the event, was one of the founders of Introgen, a company we were ready to partner with.

1 comment:

  1. By the way, what's Griffin Perry going to do for his college fund now that Introgen has tanked? See how things looked in 2004:

    In all the A&M bashing, criticism and implications of conflict of interest because of a "professed" Aggie governor, don't forget to follow the money, it transcends Aggies and Teasips and in fact puts them in bed together. On that issue, trace where the Chancellor came from before A&M and which of his Aggie cronies sits in the powerful VP of Research position in MD Anderson?

    "And where did this research start?[sic Introgen]. At the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.""....Introgen was, in a sense, a child of M.D. Anderson's scientists and private businessmen, and included intellectual capital of UT System..."

    When money and kneejerk politics are involved, it is hard to tell if governor Perry and the Chancellor are working for UT where he came from before the current A&M position or vice-versa, especially with the Chancellor's old Aggie buddy Ray Dubois embedded in MD Anderson as VP of Research.

    What's happening to all those MD Anderson faculty, especially the ones in the Introgen building, that threw their lot in with Introgen like A&M faculty are being enticed to do with all these new will of the wisp institutes intertwined with soon to fail biotech ventures? Watch and learn A&M faculty.

    To quote the article linked above:

    "If you travel to East Texas and see abandoned oil rigs, or go to the Panhandle and smell the unmistakable aroma of pig shit rising from industrial-sized animal-raising operations, the antiseptically clean allure of biotechnology has a certain charm. Nance, the Introgen president, noted in a telephone interview that research science is "the ultimate renewable resource," and that Texas' share of that resource is located squarely between the ears of the state's scientists, many of them laboring at public universities. "I think a very complex political organization like the University of Texas is finding its way through this process," he said of efforts to formalize the public/private partnership. The operative word here may be "political."

    Nance had one thing right, the operative word. But so far it seems that the unmistakeable aroma of politics when applied to science and biotechnology far exceeds the stink of pig shit and urine of the crowded antibiotic-infused cattle feedlots. In fact they smell pretty dang nice relatively.

    Let's give him a chance, but I suspect Gilman is already knee-deep in West Texas feedlot BS from the tone of his rhetoric. Or maybe he doesn't know it yet. Them that has gets for more redundant busywork and waste while the people continue to suffer and die from cancer.

    Harvey PB