KU Cancer Center has obtained a National Cancer Institute designation. Officially.
The news leaked two weeks ago, when Senator Pat Roberts posted a note about it on Facebook. But yesterday health and civic officials from around the region and state gathered to mark KU formally receiving the federal stamp of approval.
Over the last seven years, KU leaders have raised more than $350 million in public and private funds, built labs and treatment centers, and hired scientists. The effort culminated in the university submitting a 660-page application to the National Cancer Institute, or NCI, last fall.
Speaking at a gathering at KU Medical Center yesterday, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary and former Kansas governor, Kathleen Sebelius, congratulated the region on its efforts.
“Every new cancer drug brought to market in the past decade has been based on research conducted at these centers,” said Sebelius. “And that KU is joining this select group is a tribute to all work you do.”
U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kansas) said the designation will also be a boost to the region’s life sciences sector.
“Young people in Kansas, our students, have the opportunity to purse their careers in things that normally have meant they have to move away if you wanted to be a researcher or scientist,” said Moran.
KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little said the same goes for patients, who will have access to clinical trials only available at designated centers.
“Patients will receive advanced care closer to home, meaning they can focus on beating cancer rather than traveling,” she said.
There are 66 other designated cancer centers around the country. KU leaders say the next step is to become a "comprehensive cancer center," which would mean a greater capacity for cancer outreach, education and prevention initiatives.
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