Kansas City, Kan. U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts said Monday that he would be a “cheerleader” for the Kansas University Cancer Center’s effort to gain National Cancer Institute designation.
Because there are specific guidelines the cancer center must meet for designation, the senator said his efforts will be less on the side of political influence and more on the side of working to ensure that the National Cancer Institute and the National Institutes of Health are adequately funded.
“We have every indication that we will be successful,” Roberts said, as the KU center counts down to its application date in September 2011.
Roberts, R-Kan., toured the KU Cancer Center on Monday and received an update on the drug development and delivery efforts being undertaken there.
KU officials said they plan to seek federal funding for more equipment for the center’s cancer drug development and discovery efforts as the center continues to try to attract top-flight researchers.
Roy Jensen, KU Cancer Center director, said the center has received positive responses from the congressional delegation on many issues, including the funding of the NIH and NCI. The delegation’s members have been eager to find ways to be helpful, Jensen said.
“We absolutely have to have the best medicinal chemistry and pharmaceutical chemistry in the world,” Jensen said.
The support of Roberts, who could provide leadership among Kansas’ representatives in Congress and who serves on key health committees in the Senate, would be beneficial in reaching that goal as KU continues in its efforts, Jensen said.
Roberts’ visit comes as the Cancer Center prepares to formally dedicate its Richard and Annette Bloch Cancer Care Pavilion today. Philanthropist Annette Bloch gave a $20 million gift honoring her late husband, Richard, co-founder of H&R Block.