The UK Markey Cancer Center was founded in 1983 and is a dedicated matrix cancer center established as an integral part of the University of Kentucky and the UK HealthCare enterprise.
In July 2013, Markey was designated by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to receive research funding and many other opportunities available only to the nation’s best cancer centers. In 2020, Markey was designated as one of the Top 50 Cancer Centers in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Markey was first designated as a Top 50 Cancer Center in 2017.
The only NCI-designated center in Kentucky
Markey is the only NCI-designated center in Kentucky and one of only a handful in the country.
The clinical programs and services of the Markey Cancer Center are integrated with the UK Albert B. Chandler Hospital. Our cancer specialty teams work together with UK Chandler Hospital departments and divisions to provide primary patient care and support services as well as advanced specialty care with applicable clinical trials. All diagnostic services, clinical and pathology laboratories, operating rooms, emergent and intensive care, and radiation therapy services are also provided to cancer patients through UK Chandler Hospital.
The Markey Cancer Center is among the few institutions nationwide providing multidisciplinary care through Clinical Care and Research Teams (CCARTs). Major CCARTs include breast, gynecologic, gastrointestinal, head and neck, lung, brain, hematologic and genitourinary cancers.
Markey Cancer Center history
The precursor of the current MCC began in 1975 with the formation of the McDowell Cancer Network, a community outreach and education program. An initial P30 Cancer Center Support Grant (CCSG) from the National Cancer Institute was awarded to the McDowell Cancer Network in 1978 (Dr. David Goldberg, PI), and in 1995, a P20 Cancer Center Planning Grant (Dr. Ken Foon, PI) was awarded to the center. Other noteworthy milestones include establishment in 1990 of the Kentucky Cancer Registry (KCR) within the MCC — no other state statute locates a state registry within a cancer center — as a population-based cancer surveillance program for the Commonwealth of Kentucky. In 2000, KCR was one of only four cancer registries added to the NCI Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) registry for the current total of 14 population-based statewide registries. UK’s NCI-funded five-state Appalachia Community Cancer Network (ACCN) was awarded in 2005 and is now in its seventh year of work to reduce regional cancer health disparities.
An extraordinary renaissance
With the recruitment of Dr. Michael Karpf as the Executive Vice President for Health Affairs in 2003, the UK Chandler Medical Center has experienced an extraordinary renaissance, leading to dramatic expansion of UK HealthCare’s overall clinical and research infrastructure and operations. Under Dr. Karpf’s strong and visionary leadership, UK HealthCare was transformed from the lowest 25th percentile of academic medical centers to now numbering among the largest 30 percent in the nation, with patient discharges increasing by 80 percent and operating revenue increasing by more than 140 percent since 2003. UK HealthCare now includes more than 980 faculty in the College of Medicine alone. All of these developments further solidify a rich infrastructure for sustained MCC growth and development. A new $762 million, 512-bed hospital, which consists of a 1.2 million-square-foot patient care pavilion completed in spring 2011, is the cornerstone project for a 20-year, $2.5 billion plan to create the academic medical research campus of the future. The MCC is one of many beneficiaries of this transformation of UK HealthCare and the clinical and research activities impacted.
Nationally recognized physician-scientist named director
A pivotal moment in MCC development was reached in 2009 with the recruitment of B. Mark Evers, MD, a surgical oncologist and nationally recognized physician-scientist who served as Director of the University of Texas Medical Branch Cancer Center. Since his appointment as Director of the MCC, Physician-in-Chief of the Oncology Service, and Professor in the Department of Surgery, Dr. Evers received unprecedented institutional, community, and state support to build a cancer center worthy of National Cancer Institute designation. That comprehensive level of support included approximately 40,000 square feet of total space in the recently built Bio-Pharmaceutical Building and 15,377 square feet of dedicated cancer research laboratories in the Biomedical/Biological Science Research Building. Both of these leading-edge facilities have allowed for increased collaborations and interactions of basic and applied scientists in cancer research areas under the aegis of the MCC. Dr. Evers brought with him a team of more than 35 faculty, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students and research staff to UK, including five established and highly productive cancer investigators who, together with Dr. Evers, introduced 15 new, funded research projects.
Four thematic research programs
The MCC is organized into four thematic research programs: Cancer Cell Biology and Signaling (CS); Cancer Prevention and Control (CP); Drug Discovery, Delivery and Translational Therapeutics (DT); and Genomic Instability, Epigenetics and Metabolism (GEM). In addition, the MCC has five established shared resource facilities: Biospecimen Procurement and Translational Pathology (BPTP SRF); Biostatistics and Bioinformatics (BB SRF); Cancer Research Informatics (CRI SRF); Flow Cytometry and Cell Sorting (FCCS SRF); and Redox Metabolism (RM SRF). Clinical Protocol and Data Management services support and oversee the development and facilitation of clinical trials. The MCC has eight affiliate hospitals (four added in the last two years) and is currently developing a partnership with Norton Healthcare in Louisville (Kentucky's largest health care system and the first site in Kentucky to be chosen by the NCI for its Community Cancer Centers Program).