Kansas City’s two preeminent cancer care programs, The University of Kansas Cancer Center and Kansas City Cancer Center (KCCC), have completed their merger and are now operating as the area’s premier outpatient cancer care organization.

The newly merged organization will have 52 medical and radiation oncologists working in 12 locations throughout the Greater Kansas City metropolitan area. The combined organization will be part of The University of Kansas Cancer Center, but the KCCC neighborhood cancer centers will connect both the center names in one logo, building on the strengths of both community known organizations.

The combined organization will maintain KCCC’s existing relationships with community hospitals around the area.

“Two organizations with the same ‘patient first’ culture are now one, with multiple options for patients,” said Bob Page, president and chief executive officer of The University of Kansas Hospital. “Our existing academic medical center model will continue, as will KCCC’s neighborhood practices with their multiple community hospital relationships. Patients throughout the region will have greater access to cancer physicians and unparalleled access to clinical trials and sub-specialists in many cancer disciplines. It’s an historic time in the fight against cancer.”

No jobs will be lost as a result of this merger.

Twenty-seven physicians from Kansas City Cancer Center become members of the University of Kansas School of Medicine faculty in Internal Medicine and in Radiation Oncology. The new faculty eventually will be involved in clinical education of students and residents. Non-physician staff members of KCCC are now employees of The University of Kansas Hospital.

Research will continue to be one of the primary missions of the merged organization. The group begins with 143 clinical trials under way from The University of Kansas Cancer Center and 73 from U.S. Oncology and KCCC for a total of 216. Leaders of the combined organization say they will build upon this number with new early phase clinical trials emerging from The University of Kansas Cancer Center. U.S. Oncology will have the option of promoting the locally generated trials throughout its national network of physicians. Local patients will continue to have access to U.S. Oncology clinical research trials.

In addition, U.S. Oncology will continue to provide key software to the new operation, including its highly regarded evidence-based clinical pathways program.

“It has been clear from the first day of these negotiations that this partnership strengthens the future of cancer care for our community,” said Mark Myron, MD, president of Kansas City Cancer Center. “Representatives of both organizations will work together to develop the best evidence-based patient care models and add to our combined reputation as leaders in cancer care.”

In addition to jointly operating the region’s only adult Blood and Marrow Transplant program since 2007, the combined program will also be the only one offering a comprehensive breast cancer program that includes prevention, detection, treatment and survivorship. The Burns & McDonnell High-Risk Prostate Cancer Prevention Program will also benefit patients in the combined model.

Additionally, the completion of the merger brings together the only two Kansas City-area organizations to have achieved Quality Oncology Practice Initiative designation, reflecting the high quality of their clinical operations.

The partnership will support the drive to bring National Cancer Institute designation to the Kansas City area.

“With this merger complete, we will be able to report to NCI in our September application, that we have significantly expanded the number of patients to whom clinical trials may be offered as a treatment option,” said Roy Jensen, MD, director of The University of Kansas Cancer Center, which is leading the NCI designation effort.

A community celebration will take place in a “ribbon-tying” event at 10 a.m. Wednesday, June 29, 2011, at the Richard and Annette Bloch Cancer Survivors Park, located between 47th and 48th streets on the east side of Roanoke Parkway in Kansas City, Mo. The public is welcome to attend.

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 health care 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. The group also now includes Kansas City Cancer Center which merged with The University of Kansas Cancer Center in June 2011. 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 kucancercenter.org or call 1-800-332-6048.

http://www.kucancercenter.org

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