Funding for KU Cancer Center

KU Cancer Center Seeking Comprehensive Cancer Center Designation

By Mará Rose Williams
The Kansas City Star

An $8 million Hall Family Foundation gift could put the University of Kansas Cancer Center closer to attaining designation as a National Cancer Institute comprehensive cancer center.
The university announced the gift Wednesday.

While the KU Cancer Center already is an NCI-designated center, it is now seeking to move to a more comprehensive status — the highest recognition for an academic cancer center.

Of the 5,000 cancer centers in the country, just 69 are NCI-designated and of those, only 45 have achieved the comprehensive designation. The KU Cancer Center will apply for comprehensive designation in September.

“The KU Cancer Center provides local patients the assurance they are receiving the most advanced cancer treatments and availability to clinical trials,” Bill Hall, president of the Hall Family Foundation, said in a statement. “We are pleased to join with so many others who have supported the KU Cancer Center.”

The Hall gift is divided into three areas — $4 million to support recruitment of a director of medical oncology at the KU Cancer Center; a $2 million matching gift for the recruitment of a researcher specializing in hematological malignancies and immunotherapy; and $2 million to support the Institute for Advancing Medical Innovation, which has a mission to discover and develop pharmaceuticals and diagnostics with a clear path to market.

The Hall Family Foundation has supported life sciences, business, biology and humanities at KU. That support was instrumental in the university’s current National Cancer Institute designation as well as establishment of the Hall Center for the Humanities.

Roy Jensen, director of the KU Cancer Center, said the cancer center faces a rigorous evaluation process once the university’s application for the higher designation is submitted.

“This gift ensures that the KU Cancer Center will be ready,” Jensen said.