The USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center
is a leader in cancer research, with nearly 200 members investigating the complex origins and progression of cancer, developing prevention strategies and searching for cures. Located in Los Angeles, California, the center is part of the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC) and is affiliated with USC Norris Cancer Hospital. USC Norris is designated by the National Cancer Institute as one of the nation's 40 comprehensive cancer centers, a select group of institutions providing leadership in cancer treatment, research, prevention and education. USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center has held this designation since 1973, when it was named as one of the first eight comprehensive cancer centers.
USC Norris underwent a major expansion with the addition of the Norman Topping Tower in 1996 and the Harlyne J. Norris Cancer Research Tower in 2007. These facilities joined the original USC Norris (Ezralow Tower) building to establish a trio of structures that combine world-class research and cutting-edge clinical trials with high-caliber, compassionate care.
USC Norris Scientists work toward a complete understanding of the most fundamental aspects of cancer. They study the abnormal cell growth characteristic of cancer to determine what goes wrong and how the process can be altered. They then work to quickly translate those findings into treatment and prevention strategies.
Research at USC Norris is organized into five thematic programs (molecular genetics, epigenetics and regulation, tumor microenvironment, cancer epidemiology and cancer control research), and five translational research programs (genitourinary cancers, gastrointestinal cancers, women's cancers, leukemia and lymphoma and a "bridge" program in development therapeutics). Among the strengths of USC Norris are its programs in epigenetics and population-based research.
Clinical trials conducted at USC Norris—research studies that involve volunteer participants—represent a crucial step in advancing care and developing potentially life-saving drugs and treatments. At USC Norris, clinical research focuses on testing new therapies for cancer, optimizing existing treatments, discovering prevention methods and developing ways to improve the quality of life for both healthy individuals and those living with cancer.
Since its inception, USC Norris has made many important scientific advances including the development of a major classification scheme for lymphoma (Lukes), the discovery of the jun
oncogene (Vogt), the elucidation of links between steroid hormones and breast and prostate cancer (Henderson, Ross, Pike, Bernstein et al.), the development of surgical techniques for orthopedic bladder reconstruction (Skinner), the establishment of the relationships between DNA methylation and cancer (Jones and Laird), the roles of glucose regulated proteins in cancer (Cote) and gastrointestinal cancers (Lez), the 8q24 chromosome link to prostate and colon cancer (Haiman, Henderson), and the identification of a key genetic mutation in lymphoma development (Lieber).
Situated in a large multi-ethnic region, USC Norris has been able to use location as a strength in developing population-based research. The Cancer Epidemiology Program
at USC Norris has developed extensive population-based resources which have provided a backbone for research in epidemiology and cancer control research for researchers at USC Norris and others at cancer centers across the country.
USC Norris has made major inroads in the development of molecular epidemiology, and in translating epidemiological findings into cancer control and prevention. The Cancer Control Research Program
has conducted pioneering studies on behavior and hormonal modification with the goal of reducing cancer risk. Members of the Epigenetics and Regulation Program
has revolutionized cancer research with their leading work in the field of epigenetics.
Recent breakthroughs at USC Norris since 2005 include defining the molecular mechanisms for common breakpoints in lymphoma, establishing new susceptibility loci for prostate and other cancers and the adoption of epigenetic therapy for myeloid dysplastic syndrome.
Goals for USC Norris include continuing participation in major national and international efforts in epigenetics and in molecular epidemiology, pursuing the development of molecularly targeted drugs, continuing the recruitment of physician-scientists, and expanding clinical programs to further strengthen translational efforts.
USC Norris provides comprehensive care for patients in its affiliated USC Norris Cancer Hospital and outpatient clinics, part of the integrated USC Academic Medical Center which includes USC University Hospital. USC Norris is also affiliated with LAC+USC Medical Center, and at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. Beyond traditional patient care, hundreds of clinical trials are conducted, offering patients the chance to benefit from the latest in innovative cancer treatments.