- Five of the University of California’s academic cancer centers have banded together to form a collaborative big data analytics and precision medicine research network with the goal of reducing the economic, social, and clinical burdens of cancer on the state’s population.
The UC Cancer Consortium will bring together researchers and physicians from precision medicine labs at UC Davis, UC Irvine, UCLA, UC San Diego and UCSF, all of which hold the National Institutes of Health’s top designation for quality and innovation.
“The University of California — and the people of California — are privileged to have at UC physicians and scientists who are among the very best at what they do: care for patients and conduct research that leads to discovery and new knowledge that benefits us all,” said UC President Janet Napolitano.
“The formation of the UC Cancer Consortium will help leverage this institutional strength.”
The network will focus on improving clinical trials and research initiatives, as well as conducting explorations into population health science and best practices for leveraging big data analytics for broad healthcare system improvements.
Cancer rates are actually on the decline nationally, but the cluster of diseases is slated to overtake heart disease as the leading cause of death in California. The state estimates that the economic burdens of cancer total $14 billion per year. Nearly 60,000 state residents die of cancer annually, and 176,000 receive a new cancer diagnosis every twelve months.
“The UC Cancer Consortium is uniquely placed to take on California’s most difficult issues related to battling this insidious disease,” said Dr. John Stobo, executive vice president of UC Health.
“Our research mission and high level of skill also mean that our centers often care for patients with rare cancers who cannot be treated in other hospitals that may lack the expertise or access to clinical trials using the latest experimental drugs.”
The new network will also investigate challenges that contribute to quality of care issues and variable outcomes, including reimbursement and care cost concerns, inadequate access to care, research funding shortages, socioeconomic disparities, and other public health factors.
“This new UC Cancer Consortium represents a forward-looking partnership among leading academic cancer centers,” said the consortium’s inaugural chair, Alan Ashworth, PhD, Fellow of the Royal Society and President of the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center.
“Each institution has contributed significant advances to cancer research and treatment. Together, we can better serve the people of California and make even greater contributions to the field of cancer.”