UCSD forms cancer consortium with 4 other campuses

UCSD Moores Cancer Center (Photo: UCSD)

SAN DIEGO — The University of California announced Monday that the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center in La Jolla and four similar facilities have formed a consortium to improve cancer research and treatment.

The idea is to get the best minds to work together, no matter the location of their campus, said UC President Janet Napolitano and Dr. John Stobo, executive vice president of UC Health.

Despite steady declines in cancer rates over the past 20 years, the disease is soon expected to overtake heart disease as California’s leading cause of death, they said.

This year, 176,000 state residents will be diagnosed with cancer and nearly 60,000 will die from it, according to UC. The estimated cost burden of cancer in California is $14 billion annually.

“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,” Napolitano said. “The formation of the UC Cancer Consortium will help leverage this institutional strength.”

Besides UCSD, the consortium will consist of academic cancer centers at UCLA, UC Davis, UC Irvine and UC San Francisco. UC officials said each center brings unique interests, resources and strengths.

“The consortium is unprecedented in size and ambition,” said Dr. Scott Lippman, director of Moores Cancer Center. “Some of the world’s best cancer physicians and scientists will now be able to collaborate in ways impossible before, benefiting tens of thousands of patients throughout the state.”

According to UC, each center partners with industry to advance technology, protocols and medicines that become available to practitioners and patients. The outside partnerships will allow the consortium to gain further expertise and capabilities in order to address pressing cancer-related problems and opportunities, Napolitano and Stobo said.