An $18 million incubator grant was awarded in March to researchers led by Lynda Chin at the Institute for Applied Cancer Sciences at the MD Anderson Cancer Center, and, at the beginning of May, Nobel laureate and CEO of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas Alfred Gilman resigned, referencing problems with the institute's peer-review system, reports the Nature News Blog. The incubator grant, the aim of which is to create infrastructure to help develop cancer drugs, was approved without scientific review. Nature notes that Chin is married to Ronald DePinho, the president of MD Anderson, though she does not report to him.
CPRIT is re-reviewing the grant, and DePinho and Chin tell the Nature News Blog that nothing untoward occurred. "But the reality is: we applied for an RFA, we worked with people who encouraged us to do this," DePinho says. "It was reviewed and it got funded. The process ... was done in a way that was totally consistent with CPRIT's guidelines."
Chin adds that "if there was controversy over how the incubator infrastructure grants should be approved, that should have been within CPRIT. Because the RFA specified how this business plan was going to be reviewed. We as a team could only go by what the RFA said."