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The USC Cancer Surveillance Program, one of the largest single cancer registries in the nation, receives $18 million from the National Cancer Institute.
by Jon Weiner
The USC Cancer Surveillance Program (CSP) based at USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Keck School of Medicine will be funded for at least seven more years by the National Cancer Institute (NCI).
The $18 million grant will help support work of the CSP under the umbrella of the NCIs Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) program, which compiles population-based data; in this case, the CSP tracks occurrences of cancer in Los Angeles County.
With matching funds from the California Department of Health Services and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the total funding is expected to exceed $40 million.
The CSP is the backbone of the world-renowned cancer epidemiology program here at the Keck School. This continued long-term support by the NCI is a strong endorsement of the importance of the CSP to the entire national cancer research effort, says Ronald Ross, M.D., chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine and principal investigator of the CSP since 1987.
Formally established in 1972, the CSP evolved from a voluntary agreement among hospital, clinic and laboratory pathologists to provide notice of all newly diagnosed cancer cases in the Los Angeles area into one of the largest single registries in the nation.
The program provides research opportunities for many investigators at the university who need access to large numbers of cancer patients or require population-based cancer incidence, mortality or survival data for their research, says Dennis Deapen, Dr.P.H., professor of clinical preventive medicine at the Keck School and CSP director.
Guiding the CSP along with Deapen and Ross are Leslie Bernstein, Ph.D., professor of preventive medicine and AFLAC Chair in Cancer Research, and Wendy Cozen, D.O., M.P.H., assistant professor of clinical medicine.
In 1992, the CSP became one of just 18 population-based cancer registries in selected areas of the U.S. that inform the federal government about cancer incidence and survival and serve as the official depository of cancer information for the county and state.
Since the CSPs inception 30 years ago, more than 25,000 cancer patients have taken part in CSP studies.
The CSP computerized database now holds more than a million records, with nearly 37,000 newly diagnosed cancer cases added each year.
The CSPs 25-year compendium of statistics, Cancer in Los Angeles County: Trends by Race/Ethnicity 1976-2000, is but one example of the work the program is able to produce with NCI-supported funds.