KANSAS CITY, Kan. - The University of Kansas Cancer Center officially won the prestigious National Cancer Institute designation, which will bring more research money and spin-off economic development.
Former Kansas governor Kathleen Sebelius flew back into town to announce the designation on Thursday. She is currently the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services.
The cancer center announcement is good news for the construction industry, too.
A $50 million dollar hotel and office development is right across the street from KU's campus at 39th and Rainbow in Kansas City, Kan.
Local leaders expect more spin-off economic development because of the NCI designation.
"The city is fully prepared and ready to bring everything we have to the table in working with those that are wanting to be close and in and around this institution," said KCK Mayor Joe Reardon. "Opportunities are very large for us."
The prestigious label could mean millions in federal money for research, and more clinical trials in Kansas City.
It could also mean more biotech companies and drug makers set up shop nearby.
Sebelius compared it to support businesses that open near car and airplane factories.
"There's almost a supplier effect. The same way Wichita has companies that make airplane parts and pieces," she explained.
Besides giving local residents closer access to top cancer research and treatment, it adds to the effort to create an animal health sciences corridor running through this metro from Kansas State to the University of Missouri.
Dr. Roy Jensen, KU's cancer center director, said, "There's certainly a great opportunity to leverage those two projects together. Because as you know, animals get cancer just like humans do."
Thursday's announcement celebrates what many say was a nearly a decade-long effort
But Jensen said he found paperwork showing that the first time KU applied for NCI status was 38 years ago.
Local economic development officials didn't write up any numerical estimates of the expected impact.
One said it was because they weren't sure whether this would actually happen.
But KCK officials expect benefits all the way up and down the economic ladder, from highly paid doctors to the need for more janitors.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
The hottest ticket on a Friday night for Kansas City teens is actually free. Hundreds of kids lined up to get into the Brush Creek Community Center for "Club KC," which is part of the Mayor's Nights summer program.