KANSAS CITY, Ks. – KU is a step closer to becoming a nationally designated cancer center. As KCUR's Elana Gordon reports, the university has finished its more than 600-page application.
The application weighs about five pounds. It's 660 pages. And, it's about to be mailed to the National Cancer Institute, or NCI, for review.
"This is a very important day for the state of Kansas," Lt. Governor Jeff Colyer told donors and officials at KU Med Center last Tuesday during an event to mark the completion of KU's application.
This latest application effort took more than six years and involved hiring researchers, building labs, developing several new cancer drugs, and raising more than $350 million.
Dr. Roy Jenson is head of KU's Cancer Center and said obtaining an NCI designation would mean a lot for this area's role in the fight against the number one killer in the U.S.
"Over the past 20 years or so there's been great cancer care here in the region, but what an NCI cancer designation brings is the ability to contribute to the cancer effort nationally," said Dr. Jenson.
Jenson says that includes a greater capacity to do clinical trials and discover new cancer treatments.
NCI officials will visit the center in February and reach a decision by summer. Jenson says he's confident KU meets the designation criteria, but he's also worried federal budget cuts could make it harder to obtain the designation.
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