Cancer research

$5 million gift brings University of Kansas Cancer Center closer to goal

Don and Adele Hall
Don and Adele Hall

University of Kansas Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little today announced a $5 million gift that advances the University of Kansas Cancer Center’s quest to achieve National Cancer Institute designation.

The gift from Don and Adele Hall, of Mission Hills, will provide $4.5 million for cancer prevention research, and $500,000 for KU’s Institute for Advancing Medical Innovation to boost the development of drugs and treatments for pediatric cancer patients.

Since 2009, donors have given $59.5 million for NCI designation through KU Endowment. Officials aim to raise an additional $1.5 million before Sept. 25, the deadline for NCI application.

"This gift adds vital momentum toward achieving NCI designation, which will enhance opportunities for KU researchers to continue discovering new and better treatments for cancer,” Gray-Little said. “Thanks to the generosity of Don and Adele Hall, cancer patients won’t have to travel for the most promising treatments. They will be able to access that care right here in Kansas City."

Don and Adele Hall said they were pleased to contribute to the KU Medical Center and particularly toward the quest to achieve NCI designation. “We are fortunate to be able to help in efforts to better understand and treat this terrible disease,” said Don Hall.

In 2009, the Hall Family Foundation donated a Fairway building to the cancer center to serve as a clinical research facility. Resources from the Johnson County Education and Research Triangle sales tax, which voters approved in 2008 for clinical research, are helping to fund renovation of the center.

We recognize this gift pales in comparison to the extraordinary commitment of the voters of Johnson County in their support of this effort. Hopefully, through all of us working together we can make the goal of NCI designation a reality.

Dr. Roy Jensen, director of the KU Cancer Center, expressed his gratitude.

“We are thankful for the support of Don and Adele Hall in our mission to bring an NCI-designated cancer center to this region,” Jensen said. “We have researchers here who are devoting their entire careers to finding ways to prevent and treat cancer. Every day, they’re working on cutting-edge cancer research. This is what the drive for NCI designation is all about — finding ways to treat and stop cancer in our own backyard.”

Of the $5 million gift, $500,000 is earmarked for KU’s Institute for Advancing Medical Innovation and will be directed toward advancing drug development in partnership with Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics. The institute was established in 2008 with a gift from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation to foster collaborative discovery and development of new drugs and medical devices.

The institute’s director, Scott Weir, said the partnership with Children’s Mercy will make a difference in the lives of pediatric cancer patients.

“This gift will directly support joint efforts to develop safe and effective drugs for children suffering from cancer,” Weir said. “We soon will begin clinical trials of our first pediatric drug, which was designed for children diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia.”

Don and Adele Hall are longtime supporters of KU. Their gifts have benefited multiple areas across several campuses, including the Hall Center for the Humanities, Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics, Lied Center of Kansas, Spencer Museum of Art, KU Medical Center, KU School of Medicine and Reach Out and Read Kansas City.

The University of Kansas Cancer Center is a partnership that includes cancer research and healthcare professionals associated with the KU Medical Center and The University of Kansas Hospital in Kansas City, Kan.; KU’s Lawrence campus; the KU School of Medicine-Wichita; and the members of the Midwest Cancer Alliance.

KU Endowment is the independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fundraising and fund-management organization for KU. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment was the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university.

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