Newswise — The University of Kansas Cancer Center announced today that the National Cancer Institute (NCI) renewed its national cancer center designation for five years and that Children’s Mercy has been formally approved as a cancer center consortium partner. The KU Cancer Center remains one of only 69 nationally designated centers by the National Cancer Institute, a part of the National Institutes of Health.
As part of a multi-year effort, the KU Cancer Center submitted an application in September 2016 seeking renewal of its National Cancer Institute designation, the addition of Children’s Mercy as a consortium partner, and consideration for Comprehensive Cancer Center status.
“We are very pleased to have our National Cancer Institute designation renewed and to have our application for Children’s Mercy to join our consortium approved,” said Roy Jensen, M.D., director of the KU Cancer Center. “We were disappointed but not surprised to learn that we did not receive comprehensive status. On average, it takes an NCI-designated cancer center 15 years to achieve comprehensive status, and we received our NCI designation just five years ago. We are excited about our future progress, and the NCI has expressed that they believe we have the right people and plans in place to eventually earn comprehensive status.”
The award will result in an 11 percent funding increase from NCI to the KU Cancer Center, which improved its overall score from “excellent” to “outstanding.” The KU Cancer Center’s other consortium partner, the Stowers Institute for Medical Research, remains a significant part of the community-wide effort to transform cancer research and clinical care.
“The increased funding is a testament to the National Cancer Institute’s confidence in our Cancer Center,” said Douglas A. Girod, M.D., chancellor of the University of Kansas. “Going forward, the NCI feedback on our application provides us with a roadmap to ultimately achieve Comprehensive status.”
National Cancer Institute designation grants are awarded for five-year periods, which will allow the KU Cancer Center the opportunity to renew its status and apply again for Comprehensive designation in 2021.
“We are proud of our efforts during the last several years to build a world-class cancer center and are developing a bold plan for reapplying for Comprehensive Cancer Center status,” said Robert Simari, M.D., interim executive vice chancellor of the University of Kansas Medical Center. “We will be seeking additional ways to drive scientific discovery, translate those innovations to benefit patients, and train the next generation of physician scientists.”
While KU Cancer Center’s NCI designation recognizes research accomplishments, the ultimate goal is to reduce cancer morbidity and mortality and improve treatments and patient care.
“This designation renewal reaffirms The University of Kansas Cancer Center is one of the leading cancer centers in the U.S.,” said Bob Page, president and chief executive officer of The University of Kansas Health System. “We are providing leading edge cancer treatment for more than 40,000 patients each year, from all over the world. We look forward to continuing to create a better future for cancer patients.”
KU Cancer Center and Children’s Mercy initially joined forces in 2015 to identify collaborative ways to explore medical innovations and increase pediatric research efforts that would benefit children with cancer.
“This recognition from the NCI represents the outcome of many years of collaboration and planning,” said Randall L. O’Donnell, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer of Children’s Mercy. “The identification of Children’s Mercy as a full consortium partner eliminates barriers to collaboration and offers progress in cutting-edge cancer research. This integration brings to bear the full range of expertise to help the plight of children with cancer.”
Each of the cancer center’s consortium partners adds an important dimension to the strength of the cancer center, contributing to accomplishments in basic and clinical research and cancer care.
“The Stowers Institute is delighted that Children’s Mercy will be joining us as a consortium partner,” said David Chao, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer of the Stowers Institute for Medical Research. “We applaud the KU Cancer Center’s quest to build upon its strengths as an outstanding cancer center by focusing on additional collaborative efforts to address pediatric cancers.”