August 20, 2014

Gardner researcher to donate per click for a cancer cure

Mark Taylor
submissions@gardnernews.com

Thanks to Gardner native Dr. Roy Jensen, a simple mouse click on a Facebook page will help advance cancer treatment.

Jensen, a noted cancer researcher and director of the University of Kansas Cancer Center, is

Dr. Roy Jensen, Gardner, will donate $1 up to $10,000 for every person who “Likes” the University of Kansas Medical Center’s Cancer Research page on Facebook. Photo courtesy of KU Med Center

donating $1 of his own money every time someone clicks “like” on the Cancer Center’s Facebook page.

The money will benefit cancer research at the center.

Jensen said the idea for the fund-raiser came from the KU Endowment Association.

“The idea was to generate interest and develop enthusiasm around our Facebook page,” Jensen said. “They (endowment association) asked me if I was willing to do it, and I said, ‘Sure. It sounds like a great idea.’”

The goal is to raise $10,000 in funds for a Kansas Bioscience Authority grant proposal, which requires a dollar-for-dollar philanthropic match.

“We will be able to turn those 10,000 clicks of a mouse into $20,000,” Jensen said.

As of April 7, nearly three-quarters of the goal was reached, with 7,236 Facebook users clicking on the page.

The eventual goal is for the Cancer Center to receive a National Cancer Institute Designation, which includes a $1.5 million Cancer Center Support Grant.

“That’s our goal,” Jensen said. “We’ve had a lot of people working on that for a number of years now. Our application date is coming up Sept. 25, 2011.”

The Cancer Center Support Grant would help advance program activities in the Cancer Center, as well as shared resources, which are specialized areas of expertise.

“For instance it would help fund our clinical trials office,” Jensen said. “It allows us to design clinical trials that are coming out of our group discovery program, and get those into the clinic.

We have a shared resource that is focused on drug discovery and different scientific techniques used in that process.”

“These grants are really infrastructure grants. They also promote excellence in clinical research in clinical programs.”

Jensen said he was pleased with the response to his Facebook challenge.

“As of last night (April 5), we had over 7,000 ‘likes’ on the page, “he said. “We’re real happy with that. We’re trying to get more (Facebook) ‘likes’ than any other cancer center around. There are a lot of great cancer centers that only have 1,000 or so ‘likes’, so we are making great progress there.”

Jensen grew up in Gardner and graduated from Gardner High School in 1976. He earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Pittsburg State University and a medical degree from Vanderbilt University.

After receiving fellowship training at the National Cancer Institute, Jensen joined Vanderbilt’s faculty in the Pathology and Cell Biology departments.

He has been director at the University of Kansas Cancer Center since 2004 and has built a world-renowned leadership team while working toward achieving a National Cancer Institute designation as a Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Jensen is also a professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, anatomy and cell biology at the University of Kansas School of Medicine and a William R. Jewell Distinguished Kansas Masonic Professor.

He said his life’s work is inspired by his patients.

“I’ve been working in cancer research for a long time,” Jensen said. “I have had a lot of great mentors that inspired me to get into this.

“Once you’re in the field, unfortunately, you get all the inspiration that you will ever need just from interacting with patients, cancer survivors and their families. Because obviously what you do makes a huge difference in their lives.”

To click “like” on the Cancer Center’s Facebook page, visit:
http://www.facebook.com/kucancercenter.

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