From the Office of State Senator Troy Fraser

For Immediate Release
May 7, 1999
Contact: William A. Scott - (512) 463-0124

Cardiovascular Research Institute at Scott & White to Receive Additional Funding
Fraser Secures Budget Conference Committee Amendment

AUSTIN -- State Senator Troy Fraser announced today that he has secured a budget amendment that will result in more than $4.3 million in additional funding for The Cardiovascular Research Institute at Temple's Scott & White Hospital and Clinic.

Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, is one of five senators appointed to the House-Senate budget conference committee that will make recommendations to the full Legislature on the state's two-year spending plan that begins September 1.

"Heart disease and stroke is the number one killer in Texas, and the Cardiovascular Research Institute at Scott & White is leading the way in research," Fraser said. "The Institute is in a unique position to apply research to patients more quickly because of its relationship with Texas A&M and the Veterans Administration in Temple."

"This is an item that I sought to have included in the budget because I know the money will be well spent, and could literally save lives," Fraser said. "Securing additional funding for expansion of the Institute represents a major victory for the entire medical community of Bell County."

Under Fraser's amendment, the Institute will receive $2,055,000 in fiscal 2000 and another $2,305,000 the following year, according to preliminary figures agreed to by the budget conference committee.

The $4.3 million appropriation for the Institute is part of an overall additional funding increase of $20.1 million over the biennium for The Texas A&M University System Health Science Center's research program, a branch of the university's College of Medicine, that Fraser was instrumental in securing.

Dr. Jay Noren, president of the Health Science Center, said the increase in general revenue funding for the Cardiovascular Research Institute reflects the budget conference committee's commitment to good public policy.

"Texas can continue to provide quality health professionals, create new research discoveries and work towards better public health in Texas," Noren said.

Fraser said he recommended the additional funding for the Institute because of its dedication to performing basic research into the mechanisms of heart disease and stroke and extending the results to Scott & White Clinic.

"This facility is positioned to do internationally recognized research that can be translated very quickly to the cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons of Texas," Fraser said. "Heart patients will benefit directly from the most modern approaches possible of a strong research program."

Fraser also thanked state Rep. Dianne White Delisi, R-Temple, for her support and involvement in advocating the additional funding request.

More than 52,000 heart disease and stroke deaths were reported in Texas in 1997. The Institute works to provide a basic, molecular understanding of the basis for heart disease and stroke, so that improved survival is possible.

The Institute's research results will be applied to a variety of new drug therapies and treatment regimens, and improved clinical care of patients with heart disease and stroke histories will be made possible, Fraser said.

Molecular cardiology is the study of the function of the human heart at the most basic level. Cells and molecules that communicate between cells in the heart are responsible for normal heart function. During heart disease, many of the normal function are altered because of changes at the basic level. Once the molecular mechanisms are known, more effective care and treatment are possible.