KU receives $100M gift to build new cancer center building on Kansas City, Kansas, medical campus

photo by: University of Kansas

A rendering of a proposed Cancer Center building for KU's Kansas City medical center campus is pictured

A $100 million gift will fund a new state-of-the-art cancer center building at the University of Kansas’ medical center campus in Kansas City, Kansas.

University and state leaders on Tuesday afternoon announced that the Sunderland Foundation — a Kansas City-based family organization — had given the largest gift in the university’s history to fund the new building at the 39th and Rainbow campus in KCK.

The gift comes on the heels of $43 million in federal funding that U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., secured for the project earlier this year.

“The funding provided by the Sunderland Foundation, combined with the appropriation secured by Senator Moran, will enable the KU Cancer Center to enhance its work in research and patient care while fulfilling its duty to provide public education and outreach programs, especially to diverse communities and high-risk populations,” KU Chancellor Douglas Girod said. “More broadly, by strengthening KU Cancer Center, this funding elevates the entire university and strengthens KU’s position as a leading national research institution and proud member of the Association of American Universities.

“We deeply appreciate the Sunderland Foundation and Senator Moran’s continued support of the KU Cancer Center and the university, and we look forward to partnering with them in the future on initiatives that benefit Kansas.”

KU’s medical center last summer was named as a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute, which is the same designation that well-known cancer treatment campuses such as the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and the MD Cancer Center in Houston have, for example.

At the time, KU leaders said they expected the designation to bring new dollars to the KU Cancer Center, and planning began for a more extensive building to house research and treatment facilities.

A leader of the Sunderland Foundation on Thursday said the improvements the Cancer Center will make to health outcomes in the region are significant.

“We believe The University of Kansas Cancer Center is poised to change cancer research and care for generations,” said Charlie Sunderland, trustee of the Sunderland Foundation and former chair of The University of Kansas Hospital Authority Board’s Quality Committee. “Giving people the opportunity to receive such a high level of quality cancer treatment close to home is a gift like no other. I’m grateful for the foundation’s role in making this possible.”

Construction on the building could start as early as the fall of 2024. The building is expected to be completed in phases. Plans call for the building to be large enough to house physicians, scientists, researchers and clinical staff all in one building to create new collaborations on ways to fight cancer.

KU said in a press release that the building would make it more convenient for patients to access clinical trials, and that the treatment process would become more efficient as multiple departments such as nutrition, social work, pathology, imaging and others will be located in the same building.

Moran, who joined in the announcement, said the new building also would help KU build an even stronger corps of researchers and doctors devoted to fighting cancer.

“The University of Kansas Cancer Center is a nationally recognized leader in the fight to treat and cure cancer, and last year it was awarded NCI’s comprehensive cancer center designation, opening up new avenues for federal investments and research,” Moran said. “In addition to the comprehensive designation, the new state-of-the-art cancer center will expand The University of Kansas Cancer Center’s capabilities to recruit the best doctors from around the world, research new cures and offer the most innovative treatments to its patients.”


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