The Kansas University Cancer Center sent off its application for designation by the National Cancer Institute in late September, but this week it gets one final chance to sway the group of people who will make the eventual decision on whether it receives designation.
The National Cancer Institute will send a group of reviewers for a site visit. The group will likely consist of directors of other cancer centers along with other scientists. They’ll meet in Kansas City on Tuesday.
“Mostly they’re a group of our peers who have expertise in the same areas we have expertise in,” said Roy Jensen, director of the KU Cancer Center.
The group will divide up the 600-page application. It’s unlikely any one of them will have read the entire grant.
Before they even set foot inside the KU Cancer Center, the group will have reviewed their sections of the grant and will have developed questions for staff members, focusing on potential weaknesses.
Wednesday will be a very scripted day. The visitors will listen to 10-minute presentations from leaders from throughout the cancer center. The presentations will be followed by 10 minutes of questions.
About 4 p.m., the presentations will conclude, and everyone will leave the room except for the site visitors and Jensen, and they’ll direct a series of questions to him.
“That’s when I start earning my pay,” Jensen said.
Raymond Perez, medical director of KU’s new clinical research center, said KU will essentially have the opportunity to explain and defend what’s already been submitted. There are some opportunities to relay information that’s changed since the grant went in, but KU’s leaders will essentially stick to the grant.
“We can’t tell a very different story from what we wrote down,” Perez said.
The reviewers then return to their hotel, and edit their written reports one last time, and will come to a consensus on how to rank their particular part of the report.
Each section of the grant will receive a rating — exceptional, outstanding, very good, etc. — and the grant as a whole will receive a rating.
This information will be forwarded to the committee that decides whether to fund the grants. KU’s grant will be evaluated alongside all other cancer center grants up for funding, too.
And after that, there’s nothing more to do but simply wait. KU expects to hear word on whether it receives the designation in the summer.