KCUR News
2:12 pm
Tue March 29, 2011

Cancer Center's Quest for National Designation Continues

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – KU's deadline to apply for a National Cancer Institute designation is just six months away, and public and private sector leaders are rallying for the final stretch.

KU Cancer Center has raised more than $300 million over the past six years, as part of its effort to become a nationally designated cancer institute. The center has hired doctors, launched research projects, and collaborated with area health providers. Local leaders say if approved, the recognition would bring in more funding and help turn the region into a top-notch cancer treatment and research hub.

Speaking at a fundraising event last night, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback said efforts like KU's are making it increasingly possible to beat cancer.

"I do think it is reasonable for us to say that within the foreseeable future, we can see that period of time where cancer is no longer a death sentence, where this is a chronic issue you're dealing with," Brownback said. "We can be a big part of that cure."

Brownback said he's backing continued state support of the project - through about $5 million in annual funding - despite the state's current budget deficit.

Leaders last night also celebrated recent private donations totaling $4 million. They're hoping to raise an additional $11 million in order to recruit more staff by the fall application deadline.

An external advisory board recently gave KU the green light to submit its application for the designation this September. The board previously recommended the center hold off for a year or so.

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