UK Healthcare receives $11.2 million grant



Karoline McKaig

The future of UK Healthcare is bright in light of the Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence grant recently awarded to the university.

The $11.2 million COBRE grant will be used to fund UK’s Center for Cancer and Metabolism over the next five years.

“We need to change the standard of care,” UK Executive Vice President for Health Affairs Dr. Michael Karpf said.

The CCM plays an important role in Lexington’s community, Karpf said. He outlined the center’s principal goals as “providing high-end care to patients, partnering with providers to increase the standard of care for the rest of the community and providing jobs.”

In a state with high rates of cancer and metabolic disorders, this grant is important in funding research that could lead to significant improvements for the health of Kentuckians.

Karpf said the grant will fund clinical trials that will help both state and university healthcare efforts by furthering medical research.

“The research defines us. It’s important for us to excel in research,” Karpf said.

The grant is being used to fund various research projects by members of UK’s community. Dr. Ren Xu, a principle investigator of the Markey Cancer Center and UK pharmacology professor, will continue to study breast cancer metastasis. Clinical and sports nutrition professor Dr. Travis Thomas will receive funding for his research on the effect exercise and vitamin D treatment have on cachexia, a muscle wasting syndrome associated with cancer. 

The grant’s influence goes beyond personal research.

“Besides financial support of my studies, the COBRE program would allow me to be a part of a multidisciplinary team of researchers who are working in a field of cancer metabolism trying to identify the potential approaches to target metabolism to treat cancer,” said Dr. Kate Zaytseva, whose research on lipid metabolism in colorectal cancer will be funded by the grant.

Efforts funded by the COBRE grant are important to all members of UK Healthcare who see how the future of healthcare can be improved by CCM’s current research.

“Kentucky has one of the highest incidence of cancer in the country,” Zaytseva said. “This program is particularly important for Kentuckians to address the health questions unique for our states and translate our findings to development of new therapies for cancer patients.”