Markey Cancer Center at UK gets National Cancer Institute designation, opening up new treatment options for patients

The University of Kentucky annouced Friday that its Markey Cancer Center has earned a prestigious National Cancer Institute designation. With this designation, the center becomes one of 68 in the U.S., and the only one in Kentucky, with special access to clinical trials, new treatments and new drugs for patients.

Kentucky ranks first in the nation in cancer deaths per 100,000 residents, and cancer is especially problematic in Appalachia, where the overall cancer rate is 12 percent higher than in the United States.

The designation signifies national excellence in clinical care and cancer research, a UK news release said. It allows Markey patients to join specialized drug or treatment trials that are open only to NCI centers, and it also opens up funding for researchers at UK, said Michael Karpf, UK’s executive vice president for health affairs.

“It’s the ultimate recognition for academic cancer centers,” Markey Executive Director Mark Evers said. It will help UK battle cancers that plague the state, particularly lung and colorectal cancers, Evers said in a story by Linda Blackford of the Lexington Herald-Leader. To earn the designation, the center had to pass a rigorous review that began four years ago and will be renewed every five years, says the UK release.

UK officials said the designation will boost the state and local economy through research funding, and advanced cancer research could also generate more high-tech, health care jobs in the state.  “It strengthens Markey’s reputation as a frontrunner in cancer treatment and research,” the UK release said.

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