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Archive for Tuesday, January 27, 2009

State leaders: Cancer center distinction next milestone

January 27, 2009

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— Basking in the glow of winning a federal biosecurity laboratory, state leaders Monday indicated that winning national designation for the Kansas University Kansas Cancer Center will be the state’s next major goal.

“There’s already an enormous amount of interest in identifying that as sort of the next milestone,” Gov. Kathleen Sebelius said after speaking to a group of several hundred people at a reception hosted by the Kansas Bioscience Authority.

The reception was used to celebrate Kansas recently being picked for the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility, which is a U.S. Department of Homeland Security facility slated to be built in Manhattan on the Kansas State University campus.

But as the speeches continued at the event, talk turned to KU’s efforts to apply and receive cancer center designation from the National Cancer Institute.

K-State President Jon Wefald said he would help KU in its application for NCI status

“We’re going to help the KBA (Kansas Bioscience Authority), we’re going to help the governor, we’re going to help the University of Kansas, one of the great universities in the world, to achieve a goal that is going to be another signature accomplishment for this great state,” Wefald said.

Dr. Roy Jensen, director of the KU Cancer Center, said KU has been successful in winning support across the state for the increased cancer research and economic development that an NCI designation would bring.

“It looks like that is bearing some fruit,” he said.

Sebelius, KU and K-State officials, and others are scheduled to make an announcement today about cancer research collaboration between the two universities to bolster KU’s application for NCI status, which is expected to be made in 2011.

For the past several years, Sebelius and the Legislature have agreed to provide $5 million per year in funding to the cancer center to help its NCI effort.

Numerous speakers Monday talked about how Kansas’ unified effort in the competition among several states for NBAF should be copied to bring more projects to the state.

“Winning NBAF is just the beginning,” Wefald said.

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