National designation for UK's Markey Cancer Center could boost economy

The Markey Cancer Center will no doubt see a jump in jobs.
The Markey Cancer Center will no doubt see a jump in jobs. Herald-Leader

Gaining a National Cancer Institute designation will transform more than just the University of Kentucky's Markey Cancer Center, according to officials with some of the 67 other medical centers with the prestigious designation.

"There's definitely a multiplier effect," said Dr. George Wilding, director of the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center. "You end up with thousands of jobs and millions and millions of dollars."

Wisconsin's Carbone Cancer Center, which has had National Cancer Institute designation for the past 40 years, employs more than 2,400 people, Wilding said. Researchers need businesses to supply tools and equipment, and patients patronize local restaurants and businesses, he said.

UK's Markey Cancer Center employs 550 people. The NCI designation will undoubtedly bring more jobs and help spawn new businesses, said Dr. Michael Karpf, UK's executive vice president for health affairs.

Wilding said Wisconsin's cancer center also helps draw students to the university's main campus, where it provides opportunities for research.

At the University of Kansas Cancer Center, which won an NCI designation last year, the number of patients has already increased, said director Roy Jensen.

"You get to join the best of the best," Jensen said.

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