Archive for Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Five years in the making: KU leaders celebrate submission of application for designation as a National Cancer Institute

September 20, 2011


A document of more than 600 pages, five years i

NCI application ready

KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little talks about the application for the KU Cancer Center National Cancer institute designation. Enlarge video

n the making, lay on a small table in the front of the room on Tuesday as state and Kansas University leaders celebrated the submission of their application for designation as a National Cancer Institute.

The application will be filed this week with the NCI, where its approval or denial could rest on how lawmakers decide to address federal budget cuts.

The designation would provide a jolt to the local economy, as well as additional treatment options closer to home for cancer patients.

At a gathering Tuesday morning at the Robert E. Hemenway Life Sciences Innovation Center on the KU Medical Center campus, KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little said she thought KU had done everything right so far with the application.

“After this point, there will be a number of other issues, including the federal budget, that influence what happens, and we can’t say what that’s going to be,” she said.  “But I think that we’re at a point that is a celebration point because of what we’ve achieved and because we’ve been a success. And I think the rest of it is up to the good judgment of the people doing the reviews.”

KU hopes to hear next year whether its application was successful.

Barbara Atkinson, executive vice chancellor of KU Medical Center, said she read the entire application document on her vacation last week.

“It took me three and a half days,” she said. “But it was well worth it, because it’s really an exciting application, and I’m proud of it, and I’m proud of the people that helped put it together.”

Roy Jensen, director of the KU Cancer Center, said that while the event was a celebration, the effort isn’t over just yet.

“It’s kind of like crossing the finish line of a marathon,” he said. “And now, come to find out, it’s a triathlon. … Now is the swimming with the sharks phase.”

That’s a reference to the site visit from the NCI, which will occur on Feb. 22.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback said he was pleased that many people joined forces to support the effort, from both private and public sources.

“This is a tough process, and it is a difficult one. But you can’t even get into the game unless you get built to a certain level,” Brownback said. “That’s what gets us here. We’re getting into the game.”

Jensen will travel to Washington, D.C., this week, where he will talk to policymakers and will push for funding for biomedical research.

“Half a million people die from cancer each and every year, and we put $5 billion toward that war, and we put a trillion dollars toward the war that we never should have fought in the first place,” Jensen said. “That makes no sense.”

Asked what would happen if the application isn’t successful, KU’s chancellor replied succinctly.

“Then we would submit another application at a later time,” she said.

Still, KU leaders remained upbeat on Tuesday.

“Today is a great day. It’s time to celebrate,” Jensen said. “Then when I get home on Friday, it’s time to get back to work.”


blindrabbit 6 years, 9 months ago

Congratulations to KU and the hard work that went into this effort. On the down side, did my eyes deceive me, or is that individual standing behind Chancellor Gray-Little, that slimy Governor Smilin Sam. Kinda diminished the story somewhat because we all know what his M.O. is and his feelings about the disadvantaged.

yourworstnightmare 6 years, 9 months ago

I thought Brownback was opposed to federal money for health care.


Jeff Bandle 6 years, 9 months ago

I have a sibling who has had two bouts with cancer and has received excellent care from KU med in overcoming it both times.  I am very thankful to the KU Med folks and I hope their submission to NCI is received in a positive light.

Paul R Getto 6 years, 9 months ago

Don't pick on Muscular Sam. He's a survivor too. Let us hope Kansas can survive his administration. Good job KU MED!

KUAlum88 6 years, 9 months ago

Three things: 1. Congratulations to KU Med Center. What they've done to get this far is an amazing accomplishment.

  1. Sam Brownback: “That’s what gets us here. We’re getting into the game.” Us? We? How has Sam contributed to or facilitated this?

  2. We need more thorough reporting. The NCI designation hinges on the federal budget. Okay. But how? Does the designation means the hospital gets more federal funding?

ahyland 6 years, 9 months ago

If KU receives NCI designation, it would come in the form of a federal grant. Fewer dollars available for federal grants (and to the NCI in general) could affect the awarding of the grants. The exact nature of any budget cuts, however, won't be known until they become law.

Andy Hyland KU reporter

Commenting has been disabled for this item.