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K-State Today

May 9, 2013

Private donations let Johnson Cancer Research Center award $466,600 to faculty and students for research, training

By Communications and Marketing

Private donations are making a difference for cancer scientists at Kansas State University.

"Saving lives through cancer research isn't cheap," said Rob Denell, director of the university's Johnson Cancer Research Center and distinguished professor of biology. "And unlike cancer treatment providers who charge fees to cover their costs, researchers are constantly competing for funds to support their work, which provides the basis for that treatment."

The university's cancer research gets a boost from the Johnson Cancer Research Center through the help of private donors who support its mission. With the funds that are raised through private donations, the center provides cancer research faculty and students hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in competitive awards to support innovative research, equipment purchases, mentoring of student researchers and more.

In 2012-2013, the cancer research center's awards totaled $466,600. The Innovative Research Award program, the center's largest, provided $200,000 to support investigations into such things as nanoparticle-based treatment options, the use of graphene -- one atom-thick sheets of carbon -- for detection of cancer biomarkers, and fighting fungal infections in immunosuppressed cancer patients.

"We are grateful to our many allies helping us conquer cancer, and pleased to redistribute 100 percent of their gifts to our faculty and student researchers," Denell said. "Our dollars do make a difference and are often leveraged into large extramural grants."

Kansas State University President Kirk Schulz sees great potential in the cancer research center's work.

"Thanks to the Johnson Cancer Research Center's investments in faculty and student work, Kansas State University is quickly establishing itself as a leader in cancer research," Schulz said. "The center has helped fund many important and promising research projects, including a test that detects lung and breast cancer in 60 minutes -- and before physical symptoms ever appear in patients. The Johnson Cancer Research Center and its research will play a key role in advancing K-State to a Top 50 public research university by 2025."

The university currently has more than 80 faculty researchers affiliated with the center, conducting multidisciplinary basic and translational cancer research in 16 departments of five colleges. More information about the center is at http://cancer.k-state.edu.