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NC lawmakers commit $50 million to build leading cancer center

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RALEIGH (AP) -- Certain names inspire hope for cancer patients: Johns Hopkins. Sloan-Kettering. North Carolina lawmakers want to add another: Lineberger.

This year, before adjourning early this month, the General Assembly committed the state to invest $50 million every year from now on to the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The money is meant to draw talented researchers, buy state-of-the-art equipment and expand human clinical trials. Lawmakers also want to redouble prevention and screening efforts, in hopes of reducing the 41,000 people in North Carolina diagnosed annually with cancer and saving the 17,000 who die from the disease.

It's also a sign that state leaders see medical research as a secure investment for the state's economy, as they try to turn North Carolina from its reliance on tobacco and textiles to cutting edge industries.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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