Research Highlights Report - 2015

From the director’s chair

Some would say a truly great cancer center is one where researchers, clinicians and administrative staff are all deeply committed to the organization’s mission while being at the forefront of discovery and treatment.  At The University of Kansas Cancer Center, we embody this ideal, and are working steadfastly to accelerate progress in our scientific endeavors to ultimately benefit the health of the people in our region.

Since obtaining National Cancer Institute (NCI) designation three years ago, we have opened 122 new clinical trials with more than 1,400 patients participating, received $69.8 million in research funding, screened more than 2,240 people in prevention trials, and created a new Cancer Biology department where we are currently developing the region’s only Ph.D. degree program.

Even with all of our achievements, I am reminded of how far we have to go in fighting this terrible disease. We know we must accelerate our ability to reduce the burden of cancer, and we are keenly focused on our next big step in that journey – achieving Comprehensive Cancer Center designation from the NCI in 2017.

To earn this elite designation, KU Cancer Center must demonstrate highly effective, wide-spanning outreach capabilities and advances in medical care with dissemination into the general population, including underserved socio-economic groups and rural communities across the state.

In Kansas alone, more than 19 percent of the population uses tobacco. We know 31 percent of all cancers could be eradicated if people no longer smoked. As part of our education and prevention objectives for Comprehensive designation, we will focus on educating the public on the dangers of tobacco use and seek a minimum 20 percent decrease in the use of tobacco during the next 15 years. To enhance this goal, our Cancer Control and Population Health researchers have recently received significant funding from the NCI, National Institutes of Health, and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute to extend studies for smoking cessation and obesity to Kansans. 

While more lives are being saved through cancer prevention interventions and current treatments, the incidence of cancer continues to grow. By 2030, cancer cases are predicted to increase by as much as 45 percent. If we are to effectively care for future cancer patients, we must have even further resources in place within each of KU Cancer Center’s research programs featured in this issue of At the Bench.

This can only happen by expanding funding for cancer research, continuing to enroll more patients on clinical trials, and recruiting top caliber physician-scientists who focus on translational research that speeds laboratory discoveries into practical applications for patient care. 

I invite you to take a look at some of the highlights of therecent research accomplishments in each of our four cancer program areas:

Through our efforts, we will keep reaching more people and saving more lives.

Roy A. Jensen, M.D.
Director, The University of Kansas Cancer Center

Previous Research Highlights  – 2014

Previous Research Highlights – 2013

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