NCI Designation a Victory for Hope

by Melissa Brunner

Hope is an important intangible when it comes to fighting a serious illness. At least one Topeka physician believes Thursday's announcement that KU's Cancer Center earned designation from the National Cancer Institutes will offer a whole lot more hope for people in the Topeka area who are battling cancer.

The designation meants KU's Cancer Center will have access to more federal dollars to fund research into treatments and cures for cancer. It also means KU's Cancer Center will have access to the latest trials, offering new and innovative treatments.

In achieving this designation, KU did not operate in a bubble. In early 2008, it formed the Midwest Cancer Alliance, linking its oncologists and experts with hospitals across the state. Topeka's Stormont-Vail and St. Francis are both members, with Stormont serving as part of the Partners Advisory Board. Dr. David Einspahr with the Stormont-Vail Cancer Center says that makes Thursday's announcement a win, not only for KU, but for cancer patients around the region. He says the MCA already gives Topeka doctors access to second opinions and consultations on difficult cases. Now, the trials and treatments for which the NCI designation opens the door at KU will also be available in Topeka via the alliance. No need to travel to Kansas City.

On the more clinical side of the coin, Dr. Einspahr says he is excited by the potential treatment advances these trials can offer. On the more personal side of the coin, he says, more treatment options can equal more hope. Being able to tell a patient there is something else to try can be the difference between continuing to fight and giving up.

Congrats to KU for bringing us another level of hope.



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