With the ambitious goal of finding a cancer cure, lawmakers filed legislation Wednesday that would invest up to $300 million a year to fund a wide range of cancer research initiatives in Texas.
Gov. Rick Perry, joined by a bipartisan group of lawmakers, called the proposal a "landmark investment in a collaborative research effort that can put Texas on the leading edge of developing new therapies for cancer treatment."
The American Cancer Society, Susan G. Komen breast cancer foundation and the Lance Armstrong Foundation will participate in collaboration with private companies, state universities, medical schools and the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.
An estimated 35,000 Texans die of cancer every year, and 85,000 new cases are diagnosed.
"By funding a 10-year cancer research plan, pouring close to $300 million a year into our university and scientific labs each year, we're going to attract some of the brightest minds in the world, bring our institutions of medicine and higher learning together in a never-before-seen collaborative effort in developing groundbreaking cancer research," Perry said.
Texas voters would have to approve a November ballot measure that would allow the state to borrow against bonds to fund the Cancer Research Institute of Texas. In his budget proposal, Perry had proposed using proceeds from selling the state lottery to a private company.
Rep. Geanie Morrison, R-Victoria, said Texas universities are up to the challenge.
"One day, hopefully we will hear, 'The cure for cancer was discovered right here in the great state of Texas,'" said Morrison, who chairs the House Higher Education Committee.