KU Cancer Center's Johnson County facility nears opening

One year after voters passed the Johnson County Education and Research Triangle, the KU Cancer Center continues to make progress toward renovating and opening the Fairway Clinical Research Facility, most notably with the recent hire of Maxine Stoltz.

Stoltz is senior executive director of the Fairway Clinical Research Facility and is responsible for the strategic planning of the facility and ultimately managing the operations of the building. She has an extensive background in early clinical drug development and applied clinical pharmacology, most recently working at Celgene Corp.

In addition to Stoltz’s hire, the KU Cancer Center has worked with several programs across the country, most notably the NCI-designated Karmanos Cancer Institute at Wayne State University, to learn best practices of other Phase I clinical trial operations.

“What we found from talking with other cancer programs is we are creating a Phase I clinical trials program unlike any other in the country,” said Roy A. Jensen, director of the KU Cancer Center. “Our program will serve as a ‘one-stop shop’ for Phase I clinical trials, which translates into a more efficient and easier process for patients.”

The facility will house 77,000 gross square feet that will include the Phase I unit, which consists of overnight accommodations, space for accessible outpatient rooms, specimen collection, biostatistical support and metabolic nutrition studies.

In August, the KU Medical Center selected Overland Park architecture firm HMN to manage the project. Demolition of the interior of the building, donated by the Hall Family Foundation, will begin by the end of March 2010.

“The Johnson County Education and Research Triangle was a novel and vitally important idea that has translated into something that will make a real difference in the lives of those fighting cancer,” Jensen said. “We are incredibly grateful to the Kansas legislature, the voters of Johnson County, the Johnson County Education and Research Triangle Authority Board and all those who worked diligently to bring this initiative to fruition.”

Construction will take place beginning in the summer of 2010, with completion scheduled in late 2011, just after the KU Cancer Center applies for National Cancer Institute designation.

In 2010, the cancer center will focus on recruiting a Phase I clinical trial specialist to oversee the program and work closely with the drug discovery, delivery and development team to translate drugs into clinical trials.

“The continued funding support we receive from this tax is crucial to expanding our Phase I program, fostering innovative discoveries that will directly improve the health of our community,” Jensen said.

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Bill Steele, program assistant, Office of Professional Military and Graduate Education
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