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College of Medicine named member of NCI Cancer Data Network, considered world's most comprehensive
Grant from California Public Health Institute, National Cancer Institute to measure incidence, help researchers isolate causes of cancer
Irvine, Calif., April 19, 2001
UC Irvine's College of Medicine was awarded $1.2 million to help maintain a major National Cancer Institute (NCI) database, considered the world's most comprehensive database on cancer. The grant, from the California Public Health Institute, will aid researchers worldwide in their quest to find the causes of and treatments for cancer.
The Public Health Institute, which received the grant from NCI, named Hoda Anton-Culver, professor of epidemiology and head of the cancer registry for Orange, San Diego and Imperial counties, as director of the project for NCI's SEER (Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results) database that covers California outside of Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay area.
"The growing role of epidemiology and informatics in medical research can only be as effective as the data is sound," Anton-Culver said. "You can't find out what causes cancer without excellent data telling you where it is occurring and how often. This database is considered the world's most reliable source of cancer information, and it is an honor to help provide colleagues worldwide the latest and most accurate data on cancer."
The SEER program assembles data on cancer incidence and deaths in the United States, and monitors trends in incidence rates to look for unusual changes in certain cancers. It also searches for such demographic connections with cancer as ethnicity, gender, age and geography.
SEER collects data from at least a dozen cancer registries nationwide. It has recently expanded to include UCI's statistics and those of Louisiana, Kentucky and New Jersey. With its expansion, the SEER program covers data from about 26 percent of the national population, up from 14 percent before the expansion.
State cancer registries are set up by government public health agencies to account for every case of cancer diagnosed in a certain region. These registries then contribute their data to SEER as well as other cancer databases.
The UCI researchers will manage and contribute data on cancer incidence as reported from California hospitals, pathology labs and physicians' offices. As part of SEER, the group will be responsible for reporting registry data, ensuring that registry reporting is complete, conducting follow-up studies on living cancer patients and editing cancer data to make sure it is accurate.
"Studies like the human genome project and advances in drug discovery research show the power of informatics in medicine," Anton-Culver said. "The SEER program will also demonstrate informatics' power by illustrating significant patterns and by showing how ethnicity, gender, age and demographics come into play."
The California Public Health Institute is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting health and well-being and is one of the largest public health organizations in the United States. It sponsors research and training programs and serves as a partner for local, state and federal government health agencies to support their roles in health assessment and policy development.
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