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Opinion

Opinion

Building its case

A merger announced this week should significantly boost Kansas University’s effort to develop an elite cancer treatment facility.

March 11, 2011

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Tuesday’s announcement of plans to merge the operations of the Kansas University Cancer Center and the Kansas City Cancer Center appears to be a significant positive step in KU’s pursuit of a comprehensive cancer center designation.

An advisory panel reportedly was scheduled to visit the KU Cancer Center this week to assess the center’s readiness to apply for the designation granted by the National Cancer Institute. One of the challenges KU officials previously had said they faced was providing a sufficient number of doctors and patients involved in new treatment studies. The additional doctors and patients that the Kansas City Cancer Center would bring to the table would go a long way toward addressing that concern.

The Kansas City Cancer Center has 11 locations in the metropolitan area and lists 33 physicians on its website. According to news reports, a recent newsletter from the center indicates that it has more than 250 patients involved in about two dozen clinical trials involving drug or radiation therapy.

Although a number of details remain to be worked out for the merger, it seems like a great step for KU. The Kansas City Cancer Center facilities will become part of KU Hospital, and its doctors will become faculty members at KU Medical Center and members of KU Physicians, the organization that employs doctors at KU Hospital. The merger is an instant shot in the arm for the chances of KU obtaining National Cancer Center status.

The application to obtain the national designation is due in late September. The requirements are tough and, even with the merger announcement, KU has its work cut out for it. Nonetheless, it’s good to see KU officials pursuing such a lofty goal and taking concrete steps toward building a cancer treatment facility that would be a source of pride and state-of-the-art care for Kansas residents. This also serves as solid evidence of the excellence and respect enjoyed by KU Hospital and the KU Medical Center. Other hospitals would have liked to form an association with the Kansas City Cancer Center, but their leadership and doctors chose KU.

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