New grant for Keck research
The Keck School of Medicineâs epidemiological cancer surveillance research program has been awarded $23.5 million of federal funding to advance its research.
The USC Department of Preventative Medicine has received funding since 1992, but this award provides the epidemiological program with enough financial stability to continue research in the coming years.
âMost funding comes from the government and typically only for one to three years, so you are constantly unsure of what you will do five years from now and [unable] to count on seven years of funding,â said Dennis Deapen, director of the Cancer Surveillance Program.
The program, part of the National Cancer Institute, will receive the award over the course of seven years.
âThis funding allows me and my colleagues to focus on our researching instead of writing new grants. We hope to not only be able to help those people who have cancer but to also prevent cancer from starting,â Deapen said.
About 65 faculty, staff and graduate students from USC, UCLA and other area universities also involved in the instituteâs research on cancer prevention, eye diseases, childhood obesity and cardiovascular problems, among other health issues.
âEach researcher will obtain names of cancer patients from [a] hospital and then the researcher will ask the patient if he or she would like to be interviewed about risk factors from their diet, to exercise, to family medical history,â Deapen said.
The researchers look at how trends and patterns differ by racial groups, age groups and sexes. The main goal of the program is to make a surveillance registry and electronic account of all cases of cancer in hopes of discovering methods to prevent cancer in other individuals.
As the number of cancer cases continues to increase, Deapen said he believes the funding from the recent grant will help in discovering breakthroughs in cancer research, which could improve the quality of life of cancer patients.
âI love this position because it gives me a chance to both direct a program and to research in the program,â Deapen said. âThe funding will truly make sure that it is high quality, timely and invested in the overall quality of the community.â
Loraine Agustin, a student researcher for the program who is pursuing a doctorate in epidemiology, said she was glad to hear about the funding and to be a part of the program.
âI decided to stay at USC because the research is exactly what I want to do and Los Angeles has such diversity in ethnicities for what we are studying,â Agustin said. âIâm very happy because I am getting full benefits, and I can explain and share my research to the community.â