The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) recently announced that it has raised more than $15 million towards National Cancer Institute (NCI) Designation, the halfway point toward its $30 million goal.
NCI Designation is the country’s most distinguished status for cancer centers.
“Raising $15 million for a single cause in such a short time is remarkable, and I want to thank every single donor who has helped make this possible,” said Cam Patterson, M.D., MBA, UAMS chancellor and UAMS Health CEO.
A recent $1 million gift from Kim and Chris Fowler of Jonesboro put UAMS over the halfway mark.
“We are humbled and extremely grateful to the Fowlers for their generosity and love for their fellow Arkansans,” said Patterson.
“Cancer did not take a break during the pandemic, and neither did we,” said UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute Director Michael J. Birrer, M.D., Ph.D., during a ceremony announcing the fundraising achievement. “NCI Designation is an ambitious challenge that demands the hearts and minds of everyone you see here, and hundreds more across UAMS and the state of Arkansas.”
The Cancer Institute’s research focus pushes it closer to achieving NCI Designation.
There are 71 NCI-Designated Cancer Centers in 36 states across the country, with the closest to Arkansas being in Memphis (pediatrics only), Dallas and Oklahoma City.
“Achieving NCI Designation will benefit all Arkansans and place the Cancer Institute among the top 2% of cancer centers nationally,” said Myeloma Center Clinical Director Frits van Rhee, M.D., Ph.D.
Approximately 68 percent of the funds awarded by the National Cancer Institute for research and clinical trials goes to NCI-Designated centers. The centers without such designation are left to compete for the other 32 percent, and many NCI community outreach and program grants are only offered to NCI-Designated cancer centers.
To achieve designation, cancer centers undergo a highly competitive assessment process that demonstrates an outstanding depth and breadth of basic laboratory, patient/clinical and population-based research. Centers also are expected to transform their research into measurable clinical outcomes for patients. It is also projected that NCI Designation would have an economic impact of $72 million to the state annually.
“The Cancer Institute provides the highest quality cancer treatment for all patients,” said van Rhee. “NCI Designation will only increase this capability by significantly expanding our clinical trials and research abilities across the board.”