Thursday, February 17, 2022

Markey Cancer Center gets $10 million to expand, consolidate many of its operations on Limestone Street in Lexington

UK HealthCare will use a $10 million gift from Lexington's Central Bank to build an outpatient cancer treatment center and advanced ambulatory complex for its Markey Cancer Center. The gift is the largest ever to UK HealthCare and "launches an initiative to raise $90 million to improve cancer care in Kentucky," a UK news release said.

“Cancer represents an area where our ingenuity and innovation are most needed,” UK President Eli Capilouto said. “Kentucky leads the nation in cancer incidence and mortality. As such, we are determined to meet this moment — to channel our fierce resolve and address this stubborn and heartbreaking challenge.”

The new building, with 260,000 square feet, will be erected on currently residential parcels across from the Albert B. Chandler Hospital on South Limestone Street. UK has an agreement to buy them for $6.9 million.

Bank Chairman and CEO Luther Deaton and bank owner Joan Kincaid
(Photo by Mark Mahan, Mahan Multimedia, via University of Kentucky)
“No Kentuckian should have to leave the state to receive the highest quality care,” Capilouto said. “Luther Deaton, Joan Kincaid and the whole team at Central Bank recognize what it means to serve Kentucky. We are deeply grateful for this generous gift that will help us build a better tomorrow.”

Giving to UK HealthCare by the bank and its owner, Kincaid, now exceeds $20 million, the news release said.

The bank's chairman and CEO, Luther Deaton, said in the release, “For 75 years, our commitment to community service has supported our 500 employees, their families, and our customers from all 120 Kentucky counties. Too many Kentucky families have been devastated by cancer, and it is our hope that this gift will help future generations of Kentuckians avoid this terrible diagnosis.”

The Markey Cancer Center is the only National Cancer Institute-designated center in Kentucky, so it is able to offer new therapies not available to patients being treated anywhere else in the state.

Since getting that designation in 2013, the center's outpatient clinic visits have increased 57%, and surpassed 120,000 in fiscal year 2021. The center's cancer-related research funding has increased by 109% since 2012; at the end of the last fiscal year, Markey researchers held grants of more than $59 million.

“Markey is the go-to cancer center in the state, and that is evident by the growth we have seen on all fronts,” said Dr. Mark Newman, UK's executive vice president for health affairs. “While this growth is tremendous, we need to increase our physical footprint to continue expanding our potential, and most importantly, to further enhance the experience and care for our patients.”

Dr. Mark Evers, director of the Markey Cancer Center, said “This building is a dream come true and will be hugely transformative for our state. Currently, our facilities are spread out and our patients oftentimes have to go to multiple buildings to see their physician and obtain laboratory studies and treatments, which can be quite stressful. This new building will allow our patients to be dropped off at the front door, see their physician and obtain their lab work, X-rays and treatments, all in one place.”

The new facility "is part of a larger strategy to elevate Markey’s national reputation by achieving NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center status," the news release said. "The NCI has awarded this designation — its highest — to only about 50 cancer centers in the U.S., and none within a 200-mile radius from Lexington."

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