A $9.9 million grant from the National Institutes of Health will unite the work of cancer researchers across the state of Kansas.
The five-year grant will bring together researchers from KU, KU Medical Center, Kansas State University and Emporia State University to establish a Center for Cancer Experimental Therapeutics.
The researchers also will receive matching funds from KU and the Kansas Technology Enterprise Corp., which will consider giving $2.1 million during five years.
Gunda Georg, university distinguished professor in medicinal chemistry at Kansas University, assembled the proposal for the NIH grant. It was submitted through KU's Higuchi Biosciences Center, which will administer the funds.
Nineteen scientists from the state schools will research cancer therapy through five different projects, including research on lung cancer, ovarian cancer, a strain of childhood leukemia, tumor growth and methods to improve the delivery of anti-cancer drugs.
The scientists also will work with researchers at the University of Costa Rica, which will provide natural products and extracts that may lead to the development of anti-cancer agents.
As principal investigator, Georg spent months combing through resumes and proposals from junior faculty researchers at the institutions. She discovered that because many of the scientists had conducted overlapping research, collaboration could be beneficial. She also realized that many of the younger researchers could benefit from a mentoring program with senior researchers.
"There is a tremendous interest in collaborative work among the researchers in Kansas," Georg said. "When this opportunity came along, we had already formed the Experimental Therapeutics Program in the Kansas Cancer Institute. We had a goal, we knew where we wanted to go."
The center's core facilities will be located on KU's Lawrence campus.