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Texas antes up $3 billion dollars for cancer work

In a state long known for bragging about being the biggest at everything, Texas is putting its money right where its mouth is. The Lone Star state could never match California on the stem cell side, where controversies over the destruction of embryos would have scared off the most intrepid of politicians. But cancer was politically safe -- and a field where it already plays a big role, with M.D. Anderson in Houston, for example, often at the cutting edge of tests and new treatment theories.

Now, with voters’ approval last November of a $3 billion bond program for cancer research (and where did you hear that figure before?), the state is stepping up to the plate to do something as big as Texas-style demands. With hundreds of millions of dollars a year being funneled into cancer programs, you can expect an immediate leap in the recruiting efforts underway for top oncology researchers. And their work is virtually guaranteed to break the kind of ground that plenty of biotech, as well as big pharma, players are already working.

As one of the most conservative states in the country, there’s already been plenty of controversy in the state over how the money will be divvied up – even whether the influential creationists in the state may run off the top talent that is being wooed today. Given the fact that researchers go where the money is – just about anywhere the money is – you’d have to expect that’s a non-starter from the get-go.

So it’s Texas or Bust for a new generation of minds in cancer research.