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Children's Mercy becomes partner in The University of Kansas Cancer Center NCI Consortium

The two academic medical centers working together to earn next NCI designation

Children's Mercy and the University of Kansas announce that Children's Mercy has joined The University of Kansas Cancer Center NCI Consortium. This alliance allows both organizations to collaborate with academic, scientific and research programs relative to pediatric oncology. Children's Mercy joins existing consortium partners, the Stowers Institute for Medical Research and the University of Kansas.

"We are excited about the opportunities that come along with this affiliation with The University of Kansas Cancer Center," said Gerald Woods, MD, Division Director of Hematology/Oncology/Bone Marrow Transplant at Children's Mercy. "By aligning our expertise and resources, we will be able to bring more clinical trials and innovative therapeutics to children fighting cancer today and in the future."

Specifically, the institutions will further collaborate around medical innovations to leverage Children's Mercy's core strengths in pediatrics, genomic medicine, orphan drug disease indications and cancer drug discovery. These capabilities complement KU's Institute for Advancing Medical Innovation in its strategic focus on cancer, childhood and adolescent diseases and rare diseases.

The University of Kansas Cancer Center was awarded National Cancer Institute (NCI) designation in 2012, which signifies that it has achieved the highest standards and recognition for an academic cancer center and that promising cancer research leading directly to improved care and treatment is taking place. The University has announced that it is actively seeking the designation of Comprehensive Cancer Center from NCI, which indicates depth and breadth of research in each of three major areas: laboratory, clinical, and population-based research, as well as substantial transdisciplinary research that bridges these scientific areas. In addition, a comprehensive center must also demonstrate professional and public education and outreach capabilities, including the dissemination of clinical and public health advances in the communities it serves. Only 41 institutions in the country have earned that status.

"Children's Mercy has extensive experience and expertise when it comes to advancing pediatric oncology research and pediatric drug development," said Roy Jensen, MD, Director of The University of Kansas Cancer Center. "This expanded relationship between Children's Mercy and the Cancer Center will better position our institutions as we endeavor to earn the NCI designation as a Comprehensive Cancer Center over the next few years."

Children's Mercy and The University of Kansas Cancer Center most recently collaborated on creating the KU Cancer Center Survivorship Transition Clinic. The clinic, based at The University of Kansas Hospital, is one of a half dozen clinics in the country specifically for adult survivors of childhood cancer. The clinic provides adult survivors follow-up care and treatment for any late effects.

The Division of Hematology, Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant at Children's Mercy provides comprehensive care to nearly 2,000 children each year with childhood cancers, sickle cell disease, hemophilia and other blood disorders. At any given time, the Division is participating in nearly 100 clinical trials, including several national trials led by Children's Mercy investigators. Trial groups include the Children's Oncology Group, the Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant Consortium and the Pediatric Oncology Experimental Therapeutics Investigators Consortium.