KU Cancer Center achieves ‘comprehensive’ designation, awarded $13.8 million grant

Senator Jerry Moran announced that the KU Cancer Center received a comprehensive designation...
Senator Jerry Moran announced that the KU Cancer Center received a comprehensive designation from the National Cancer Institute.(Taylor Johnson, KCTV5)
Published: Jul. 7, 2022 at 11:27 AM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Kan. (KCTV) - It was a memorable Thursday at the University of Kansas Cancer Center.

The cancer center was designated as a “comprehensive” cancer center by the National Cancer Institute and awarded a five-year, $13.8 million grant to support the center’s research programs, shared equipment and resources.

“Nearly 20 years ago, this entire community joined together and decided that national designation, and ultimately Comprehensive designation, of our cancer center was our top priority as a region. It was our moonshot,” said KU chancellor Douglas Girod said in a statement. “Well, today we’ve landed on the moon, so to speak. What was once a dream is now a reality. And that reality means better patient care, better health outcomes and better research. And it means we are one step closer to our ultimate goal – which is to rid our society of cancer so that we all have the opportunity to live happier, healthier lives.”

The KU Cancer Center is now just one of 53 comprehensive cancer centers designated by the NCI and will have increased access to federal funding and research money.

“Comprehensive designation is a crucial milestone in our journey to conquer all cancers,” said Roy Jensen, M.D., director of the KU Cancer Center. “You might ask, ‘What does Comprehensive designation mean for people with cancer?’ As one of just 53 NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the nation, it means patients will be cared for by the world’s leading cancer experts who have access to a robust portfolio of clinical trials. It also means we now have increased access to more federal funding and research dollars, which helps us grow and retain our team of internationally renowned researchers and physician-scientists.”

The University of Kansas Cancer Center has nearly 350 researchers and 150 disease-specific oncologists. They conduct all phases of cancer research, from laboratory studies to clinical trials to population-based studies that address environmental and behavioral factors that contribute to cancer, according to a news release.

Research operations at the KU Cancer Center have already contributed an estimated $2.5 billion in economic impact to the region since 2007 when the center began working toward NCI designation in earnest. It’s estimated that those numbers will only increase with the anticipated expansion that will accompany the KU Cancer Center achieving Comprehensive designation. University leaders note that the growth of the cancer center has contributed to additional advancements at the university.