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This week, The University of Kansas Cancer Center (KUCC) formally applied to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to become an “NCI-designated Cancer Center.” NCI is a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and our nation’s principal agency for cancer research and training. Obtaining NCI designation would dramatically enhance KUCC’s ability to discover, develop and deliver innovative treatments to patients in our state, improving their quality of life. Currently, there are 66 NCI-designated cancer centers across the country - but none in Kansas. With NCI designation, KUCC patients would have access to the latest clinical trials and the most advanced cancer treatments close to home.

Kansas has the potential to become a thriving research powerhouse for medical, pharmaceutical and technological advancement, and KUCC’s pursuit of NCI designation is an integral component of that potential. Because NCI designation is the highest recognition for an academic cancer center, KUCC would be better positioned to recruit the brightest researchers and scientists to develop cutting-edge treatments and cures right here in Kansas. Furthermore, studies have shown that NCI designation would attract thousands of jobs and billions of dollars to our state’s economy. Economic development on this scale would not only impact thousands of Kansans today, but would benefit residents for years to come.

Our nation’s scientists are continuing to make important progress against some of the world’s most devastating diseases and our state stands ready to make a greater impact in the effort to improve health and save lives. I commend the teams at KUCC, KU Medical Center, and other partners for their pursuit of NCI designation and I strongly support their application.