A major source of funding for cancer research in West Texas has been restored.
Lawmakers lifted a ban on grants issued by the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, or CPRIT, on Wednesday.
They put a hold on funds issued by CPRIT back in December. That's when the executive director was accused of issuing a multi-million dollar grant without following the proper review process. That claim led to a state audit of the organization.
Lawmakers have now established new rules and a new oversight committee, leading to Wednesday's announcement that grants can resume.
CPRIT is a big deal for our area because it has the second largest pot of money for cancer research in the country and it's only spent on projects in Texas.
Voters approved its creation back in 2007 and authorized the state to issue $3 billion in bonds to fund it.
Here in West Texas, CPRIT pays for a majority of cancer research.
Dr. Patrick Reynolds is the director for the Cancer Center at the Health Sciences Center School of Medicine. He explained the importance of CPRIT when we spoke with him back in February.
"75% of all the cancer research funding in West Texas comes from CPRIT. So without CPRIT, West Texas is going to be virtually a wasteland in terms of funding for cancer research," Dr. Reynolds said.
While the grants have resumed, an investigation by public corruption prosecutors is still on-going.
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