Davis, Illinois colleagues seek national designation for home-state cancer center

U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL) led members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation in expressing support for a home-state cancer center to become part of the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

Rep. Davis and his colleagues want to see the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s Cancer Center Support Grant application for a Basic Laboratory designation by the NCI approved. Also known as the Cancer Center at Illinois (CCIL), the site would become part of an elite group of seven NCI-designated basic science cancer centers in the country.

“Bringing the university’s history of technological breakthroughs to cancer research will help develop life-saving treatments and hopefully a cure,” Rep. Davis said on May 31.

If designated, the CCIL would be the first NCI-designated cancer center in Illinois outside of Chicago, giving it a credential that allows access to additional resources and partnerships with the nation’s network of clinical and comprehensive cancer centers, according to the congressman’s office.

“My wife Shannon was diagnosed at age 26 with a rare, genetic form of colon cancer and we know we’re not alone. Too many families across the 13th District have their own stories of battling cancer,” said Rep. Davis. “We must do everything we can to change cancer from being the normal and the Cancer Center at Illinois is helping do that.”

Rep. Davis led a bipartisan letter of support for the designation, noting the university’s efforts “in cancer prevention, detection, treatment, and survivorship,” and pointing out that the CCIL has more than 400 faculty and researchers in training across 19 departments.

“The CCIL will provide leadership through the use of technology to transform how we understand and fight cancer,” Rep. Davis and the members wrote in a May 28 letter sent to Henry Ciolino, director of the NCI’s Office of Cancer Centers. “We hope NCI will extend its support to this exciting and ambitious enterprise.”

The lawmakers who also signed the letter were U.S. Reps. John Shimkus (R-IL), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Mike Quigley (D-IL).