U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) issued the following statement today upon the University of Kansas Cancer Center (KUCC) achieving designation as a National Cancer Institute (NCI) Cancer Center:
"By prioritizing medical research, we are investing in our future. NCI designation will dramatically enhance KUCC's ability to discover, develop and deliver innovative treatments to patients in our state and region, and will have a transformative impact on our state's economy," Sen. Moran said. "I congratulate the teams at KUCC, KU Medical Center, KU Hospital, and other partners for their successful pursuit of this exclusive designation that will have a life-changing impact on Kansans for generations to come -- offering hope to thousands of patients. I am proud to have supported the Center's pursuit of this designation from the early stages and look forward to continuing to partner together to ensure KUCC remains at the front lines in our nation's efforts to combat cancer."
NCI is a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and our nation's principal agency for cancer research and training, focusing on turning laboratory discoveries into new treatments for cancer patients. Until today, there were 66 NCI-Designated Cancer Centers across the country, but none in Kansas. With this exclusive designation, KUCC patients will have access to the latest clinical trials and the most advanced cancer treatments close to home. Because NCI designation is the highest recognition for an academic cancer center, KUCC will also be better positioned to recruit the brightest researchers and scientists to develop cutting-edge treatments and cures here in Kansas.
KUCC's pursuit of NCI designation began more than a decade ago and was made possible by the strong support from the local community in Kansas City, the state of Kansas, and the entire region. KUCC estimates its pursuit of NCI designation has already created more than 1,100 jobs and had a regional economic impact of $453 million. Furthermore, studies show that NCI designation will attract thousands more jobs and billions of dollars to the Kansas economy.
One of Sen. Moran's highest priorities has been to ensure KUCC attains NCI designation and fulfills its mission regarding cancer research and patient treatment. He supported KUCC's application in September 2011 by including a letter of support in the Center's official application to NCI. Sen. Moran also attended KUCC's official NCI site visit on February 22, 2012, where he spoke to NCI scientists to express his full and ongoing commitment to KUCC in its pursuit of NCI designation. Additionally, Sen. Moran met with Dr. Harold Varmus, Director of NCI, to learn more about the Institute's cancer research programs and operations.
As a member of the Senate Appropriations health subcommittee, Sen. Moran offered an amendment last year to prevent a reduction in the NIH and NCI budgets for FY2012. The amendment was fully offset and would have prioritized medical research without adding to our nation's annual deficit. Earlier this year, Sen. Moran offered a similar amendment to significantly boost the NIH budget for FY2013, which was also fully offset.