KU Cancer Center Joins Nation’s Elite with NCI Designation
KANSAS CITY, Kan — Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius made the formal announcement on Thursday that the KU Cancer Center has received designation from the National Cancer Institute.
Sebelius was governor when the effort to win designation started. On Thursday, she said that the hiring of top notch researchers was key to KU’s success.
More than $350 million was spent on those hirings and on creating new facilities to expand cancer research. More than a $100 million came from private donations. Money also came from Johnson County voters who okayed a sales tax increase for the research triangle.
KU now has the potential to get millions more in funding.
“It changes the character of who we are as a state,” said U.S. Senator Jerry Moran.
But Sen. Moran and others say most of all, the designation means cancer patients won’t have to travel elsewhere for cutting edge clinical trials that are done only at NCI Centers.
Bill Whitaker survived an advanced cancer with care at KU, and said the designation is about “more” for patients.
“More finds, more people having birthdays. That’s what we’re here for,” said Whitaker.
Getting NCI Designation does not mean KU will always have it. Centers have to re-apply every five years. And federal funding cuts for research are looming. Just this week, leading research institutions sent a letter to Congress asking that current funding levels be maintained.