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Feb. 5, 2009
By Sarah Green
KHI News Service
Feb. 5, 2009
OLATHE — A plan to renovate buildings on the University of Kansas Medical Center campus to expand research space for the university’s cancer center received first-round approval on Thursday from the Kansas Bioscience Authority.
The University of Kansas Cancer Center presented a plan to the authority’s investment committee for converting a portion of the medical center’s Wahl Hall-Hixon complex into new laboratories for cancer drug research.
Drug development is one feature of a plan to expand the cancer center’s capabilities before it applies for National Cancer Institute status in September 2011.
The cancer center asked the bioscience authority to cover debt service on the first 10 years of a 20-year bond.
The bioscience authority’s board of directors must give final approval to the proposal, said the authority’s President and Chief Executive Officer Tom Thornton. The full board will meet March 9 and 10.
“We like the collaborative nature of what they have proposed,” Thornton said. “The focus on drug development is extraordinary, and differentiates them from other centers.”
The University of Kansas, Kansas State University and other health, education and research organizations across the state have joined forces to prepare for the NCI application.
Pending final approval, the cancer center intends to begin the renovations in the second quarter of 2009 and plans to move in to the newly remodeled research facility in June of 2010, said Erica Brown, a cancer center spokeswoman.
Officials expect to present a separate proposal for a $64 million research facility in Lawrence to the bioscience authority in the next couple of months.
“The bottom line is that we have to have space to recruit researchers who will help us increase our NCI funding base,” Brown said.
-Sarah Green is a staff writer for KHI News Service, which specializes in coverage of health issues facing Kansans. She can be reached at
or at 785-233-5443, ext. 118.