Outlet Full Name: The Courier-Journal
Author Name: Laura Ungar
School’s new national status helps research
The University of Kentucky is now home to the state’s first National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center, opening the door to the newest and most innovative research and treatments in a state with the nation’s highest cancer death rate.
The prestigious designation, announced Friday, places UK’s Markey Cancer Center among 67 other centers nationwide, including Harvard Medical School, the Mayo Clinic and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
“This is the ‘Good Housekeeping’ stamp of approval,” Markey Director Dr. Mark Evers said in an interview. “We’ll have access to more clinical trials. That means Kentuckians don’t have to leave the state to get the best care.”
Evers said UK has invested about $110 million in institutional, state and philanthropic funds in its cancer programs over four years, hiring researchers and faculty and upgrading facilities. He said the center also underwent a “long, arduous and rigorous process,” including a site visit in January, before getting the distinction NCI officials say recognizes “world-class, state-of-the-art programs.”
UK partners will benefit from the designation, including Norton Healthcare. UK HealthCare formed an alliance with Norton in 2010 to expand clinical and teaching programs in stroke, heart disease and cancer, and Norton officials Friday afternoon announced a specific, expanded partnership between Norton Cancer Institute and Markey on cancer. Patients at Norton’s institute, which NCI named a community cancer center in 2010, will have access to new UK clinical trials, Evers said, and in most cases will be able to participate from Louisville.
Markey has more than 200 clinical trials under way. Evers said he doesn’t yet have a list of all the new clinical trials that will become available but said many will focus on the major cancers afflicting the state, including lung, colorectal and breast cancer.