News Releases

KANSAS CITY – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (Kan.) released the following statement today after announcing The University of Kansas Cancer Center has received the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Comprehensive Designation Status – the highest level of recognition awarded by the NCI and the gold standard for cancer centers:

“Today’s announcement is a significant step forward and huge milestone for the University of Kansas Cancer Center. The NCI Comprehensive Designation Status solidifies KU Cancer Center as a national and world leader in the fight to treat and cure cancer and will open new avenues for federal funding, collaborative research opportunities and deeper partnership with NCI. The millions of dollars in increased funding from NCI is absolutely critical to supporting KU’s research and development and translating their findings into effective treatments for patients. As an appropriator in the United States Senate, I look forward to continue investing in NIH research which will provide NCI a larger allocation to distribute resources to cancer centers like KU.

“My priority is to make Kansas a destination for industry, defense, education, science, technology, engineering and research. But my main priority is to make Kansas a place where we are not only recruiting the top talent in the world to our state, but also keeping our students, their knowledge and intellect in Kansas. That Kansans have the opportunity to change the world right here at home.

“KU Cancer Center now joins only 52 institutions across the country that have earned the NCI Comprehensive Designation. There are a number of individuals who deserve a special thanks today, and especially the entire leadership team at the KU Cancer Center. Chancellor Doug Girod, Dr. Robert Simari and Dr. Roy Jensen should feel immense pride in their team and the work at KU Cancer Center. This is only the beginning, and really good things continue and begin to happen here at the KU Cancer Center. God willing, one day we will provide something more than hope. We will provide that cure.”

Statements from Leaders at The University of Kansas:

“Nearly 20 years ago, this entire community joined together and decided that national designation, and ultimately Comprehensive designation, of our cancer center was our top priority as a region. It was our moonshot,” said Douglas A. Girod, M.D., chancellor of the University of Kansas. “Well, today we’ve landed on the moon, so to speak. What was once a dream is now a reality. And that reality means better patient care, better health outcomes and better research. And it means we are one step closer to our ultimate goal – which is to rid our society of cancer so that we all have the opportunity to live happier, healthier lives.”

“Comprehensive designation is a crucial milestone in our journey to conquer all cancers,” said Roy Jensen, M.D., director of the KU Cancer Center. “You might ask, ‘What does Comprehensive designation mean for people with cancer?’ As one of just 53 NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the nation, it means patients will be cared for by the world’s leading cancer experts who have access to a robust portfolio of clinical trials. It also means we now have increased access to more federal funding and research dollars, which helps us grow and retain our team of internationally renowned researchers and physician-scientists.”

“Two decades ago, when KU Medical Center leadership decided to focus on cancer research, there were some who worried that other areas might be left behind,” said Robert D. Simari, M.D., executive vice chancellor of the University of Kansas Medical Center. “However, it has never been more true that rising tides raise all ships. With the success of the cancer center, centers of excellence in Alzheimer’s disease, kidney disease, diabetes, aging and many others have flourished.”

Timeline of KU Cancer Center’s Comprehensive Designation Status Application:

  • In 2012, KU Cancer Center was recognized as a National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center.
  • In 2017, KU Cancer Center’s NCI designation was renewed, but the first attempt toward comprehensive status fell short. This same year, NCI made it a rule that no cancer center could be promoted to comprehensive status on its first five-year renewal, allowing KU time during the subsequent five years to focus on strengthening core areas necessary to achieving comprehensive status from NCI.
  • In 2021, as its five-year cancer center renewal would soon come up for review, KU Cancer Center submitted its second application for comprehensive status.
  • In June of 2022, KU Cancer Center officially received the National Cancer Institute’s comprehensive designation status.

Additional Federal Resources:

  • As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee with jurisdiction over the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the NCI, Sen. Moran also helped secure a total of $16 million in federal resources for KU Cancer Center in this year’s budget.

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