OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (March 28, 2017) – The TSET Board of Directors on Tuesday voted to renew a $5.5 million annual grant to the Stephenson Cancer Center for the next five years to support the TSET Cancer Research Program. The grant will continue to support the cancer center’s efforts to earn National Cancer Institute designation, provide cutting-edge treatment and support research for adult and pediatric cancers in Oklahoma.
This is TSET’s second five-year grant to the Stephenson Cancer Center, which is expected to apply for National Cancer Institute designation this spring. The mission of the TSET Cancer Research Program is to decrease the burden of cancer in Oklahoma and the nation by supporting and promoting innovations in cancer research and treatment. Oklahoma has the 7th highest per capita cancer death rate.
“Funding cancer research at this level allows Oklahomans access to the very best cancer treatments available right here at home. Over one-third of Oklahomans will be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetime, and it’s the second leading cause of death in our state,” said Don Millican, chairman of the TSET Board of Directors. “Additionally, investing in research supports economic growth while advancing the TSET mission of improving the health of all Oklahomans.”
The TSET Cancer Research Program at the Stephenson Cancer Center helps translate promising research into new and more effective cancer treatments and diagnostic tools, and recruits nationally-recognized scientists to Oklahoma. Funds from the grant also support the Phase I Clinical Trials Center, which allows cancer patients throughout Oklahoma access to promising new experimental therapies.
“TSET’s investment in cancer research is one of the many ways we are working to improve the health of all Oklahomans,” said TSET Executive Director John Woods. “Our comprehensive approach includes educating Oklahomans on healthy choices, preventing and reducing tobacco use and obesity, and collaborating to create environments where the healthy choice is the easy choice.”
With TSET’s support, the Stephenson Cancer Center has recruited 33 new cancer researchers who have brought in an additional $46.9 million in out-of-state dollars to the cancer center. Since 2014, Stephenson Cancer Center has been ranked in the top three cancer centers in the nation for enrolling patients in the clinical trials sponsored by the National Cancer Institute.
In 2016, Stephenson Cancer Center, the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and TSET announced a $2.2 million partnership with Children’s Hospital Foundation to develop a comprehensive pediatric cancer research program. That effort will include recruiting three externally-funded pediatric researchers, expanding pediatric clinical trials statewide and establishing at Pediatric Cancer Research Fund to support future research.
“TSET support has been the single most important factor in the Stephenson Cancer Center’s emergence as a nationally recognized academic cancer center,” said Dr. Robert S. Mannel, director of the Stephenson Cancer Center. “Thanks to TSET, we are now in a position to compete for the prestigious NCI designation award, which will help ensure that Oklahoma’s adult and pediatric cancer patients have access to the most advanced therapies and cutting-edge clinical trials.”
The Stephenson Cancer Center is expected to submit an application for National Cancer Institute designation this May, and designation could be announced by mid-2018.
The Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) serves as a partner and bridge builder for organizations working towards shaping a healthier future for all Oklahomans. TSET provides leadership at the intersections of health by working with local coalitions and initiatives across the state, by cultivating innovative and life-changing research, and by working across public and private sectors to develop, support, implement and evaluate creative strategies to take advantage of emerging opportunities to improve the public’s health. TSET – Better Lives Through Better Health. To learn more go to tset.ok.gov.