UK's Markey Cancer Center hopes to use new national designation to battle state's high cancer rates

07/12/2013 04:56 PM

LEXINGTON — The University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center has become the 68th medical center in the country to be designated a National Cancer Institute cancer center, which will give its patients access to new drugs, treatment options and clinical trials offered only at NCI centers.

In addition, the Markey Center can apply for federal research grants available only to National Cancer Institute Center designated cancer centers.

Kentucky ranks first in the nation in cancer deaths among all states and second highest in incidence rates for cancer. The state had more than 25,000 new cancer cases diagnosed in 2012.

Markey Cancer Center Director Dr. Mark Evers had set the goal of getting the designation when he arrived at UK in 2009.

“This designation by the National Cancer Institute is the ultimate recognition,” said Evers.

Dr. Michael Karpf, UK’s executive vice president for health affairs, said that the designation is not only important to the citizens of Lexington but for all residents of the commonwealth.

“Our job is not only to take care of cancer in Lexington but to make sure cancer gets taken care of in the community where people can stay close to home and stay with their families and support groups,” Karpf said.

Karpf and Evers were joined at Friday’s announcement by politicians, including Gov. Steve Beshear, U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers of Somerset and House Speaker Greg Stumbo of Prestonsburg, as well as former UK President Lee T. Todd Jr. and current President Eli Capilouto.

Currently the Markey Affiliate Network comprises of nine community hospitals located in Ashland, Cynthiana, Danville, Frankfort, Georgetown, Hazard, Louisville, Morehead and Mount Vernon.

The University of Kentucky Medical Center becomes one of only 22 in the nation that have earned an NCI designation along with a federally funded Alzheimer’s disease center and have earned the Clinical and Translational Science Awards grants.

“In many places, cancer prevention and modern therapies are turning cancer around, but, less so in Kentucky,” Capilouto said. “All of that changes today.”


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