researcher with test tubes and petri dish

$10 million gift adds momentum to quest for NCI designation

A $10 million gift from a Texas couple with ties to Kansas City will support The University of Kansas Cancer Center.

The gift to The University of Kansas Hospital from Joe and Jean Brandmeyer of El Paso, Texas, will create an endowed chair of Radiation Oncology and support other patient care and research priorities needed for The University of Kansas Cancer Center to achieve National Cancer Institute (NCI) designation. An announcement of a renowned physician/researcher to fill the Joe and Jean Brandmeyer Chair and Professor of Radiation Oncology will be made in early 2010.

"We are at an important juncture in pursuing National Cancer Institute designation, and this generous gift fills a critical need for us in order to move forward," said Roy Jensen, director of The University of Kansas Cancer Center. The cancer center plans to apply for NCI designation in September 2011. Designation will bring the latest clinical trials to the region that are open only to NCI centers and enhance cancer research projects in the area.

Joe and Jean Brandmeyer are former Kansas City-area residents. They founded Enturia, a manufacturer of disposable antiseptic applicators for hospitals, and sold the company to Cardinal Health in 2008. Joe formerly served as president of the scientific division of Marion Laboratories.

The Brandmeyers said they wanted to help cancer patients in the heartland who don’t have the means to travel to an NCI center. “Curing cancer has a special place in our hearts,” said Joe Brandmeyer. “My mother, sister, and several aunts and uncles died of cancer, and our grandson is a cancer survivor,” he said.

Jean Brandmeyer added, “We have faith in the people running The University of Kansas Cancer Center because they are patient-focused.”

The Brandmeyer family established in 2007 the Brandmeyer Patient Resource Center in the Richard and Annette Bloch Cancer Care Pavilion in Westwood, which supplies accurate information about all aspects of cancer to patients and their families and friends. They have also been a major sponsor of the “Treads and Threads Gala” supporting The University of Kansas Hospital’s clinical cancer program within The University of Kansas Cancer Center.

"The Brandmeyer family is extending their tradition of supporting the best in cancer patient care to our pursuit of NCI designation," said Bob Page, president and chief executive officer of The University of Kansas Hospital.

Barbara Atkinson, executive vice chancellor of the KU Medical Center and executive dean of the KU School of Medicine, said this gift shows the community's support for NCI designation. “This will bring talented physician scientists and researchers who will work to discover the cures right here at home,” she said.

KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little said that achieving NCI designation means cancer patients won’t have to travel long distances to receive cutting-edge care. “This generous donation is not just a gift to the cancer center, but a gift to cancer patients and their families throughout the region,” she said.

The gift will be managed by KU Endowment, the independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fundraising and fund-management foundation for KU and serving as a partner in philanthropy with The University of Kansas Hospital. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment was the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university.

The University of Kansas Cancer Center is transforming cancer research and clinical care by linking an innovative approach to drug discovery, delivery, and development to a nationally-accredited patient care program. The partnership includes cancer research and healthcare professionals associated with the University of Kansas Medical Center and The University of Kansas Hospital in Kansas City, the University of Kansas in Lawrence, the University of Kansas School of Medicine in Wichita, and the members of the Midwest Cancer Alliance Partners Advisory Board and Clinical Trials Network. For more information on The University of Kansas Cancer Center’s research and outreach programs and award-winning patient care offered at the Richard and Annette Bloch Cancer Care Pavilion and The University of Kansas Hospital, visit cancer.kansas.edu or call 1-800-332-6048.

Rosita McCoy

Senior Vice President, Communications and Marketing 785-832-7336

Michelle Tevis

Senior Editor, Media Relations 785-832-7363