USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center

An NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center

USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center receives renewal of prestigious designation from the National Cancer Institute

August 20, 2021

The USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center (USC Norris) at Keck Medicine of USC renewed its comprehensiveness designation by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the highest federal rank for a cancer center in the nation. This designation accompanies funding through the Cancer Center Support Grant (CCSG), providing over $33 million to support the research, training, and community outreach missions of USC Norris over the next five years. USC Norris has held this prestigious NCI designation continuously since it became one of the nation’s first eight NCI-designated cancer centers in 1973.

The NCI review and renewal of this coveted designation is the result of an extensive grant application and review process that culminated with an NCI virtual site visit in May 2021. USC Norris earned a near-perfect overall rating (a score of 16 in a system where 10 is perfect and 90 is the weakest possible score). This is the best score in the history of USC Norris. Among the USC Norris components rated “exceptional” by NCI are community outreach and engagement, molecular genomics, translational pathology, and population research, as well as the center’s organizational capabilities, transdisciplinary collaboration, institutional commitment, and cancer center director.  

“The renewal of this prestigious designation for USC Norris is a testament to our exceptional team of scientists, clinicians, and staff who work tirelessly to generate breakthrough discoveries that are revolutionizing how we assess risk, prevent, diagnose, and treat cancer,” said Dr. Caryn Lerman, director of the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, H. Leslie and Elaine S. Hoffman Chair in Cancer Research, and associate dean for cancer programs in the Keck School of Medicine of USC.  Indeed, USC Norris members hold over $104 million dollars in peer-reviewed cancer research grants of which over $20 million focuses on reducing cancer health disparities. “This fact, together with our exceptional community outreach and engagement, uniquely positions USC Norris to lead the nation in reducing racial and ethnic disparities in cancer mortality”, said Lerman.  

Building upon this success, USC Norris will leverage new patient care facilities to expand clinical trials including the Norris Healthcare Consultation Center, Koreatown Clinic, and oncology clinics in Pasadena, Buena Park, and Arcadia. Apart from this community expansion, the USC Norris footprint on the primary USC Health Sciences Campus spans three buildings totaling over 300,000 square feet. Additionally, USC Norris has a rich tradition of collaboration across multiple USC Schools, as well as with our close partners, Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles (CHLA) and Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center.

“USC Norris was one of the first and most successful Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the country,” said Dr. Steven Shapiro, senior vice president for health affairs at USC. “This most recent NCI renewal demonstrates the exceptional trajectory of the Cancer Center under Dr. Lerman’s leadership, as it continues to accelerate the pace of turning research discoveries into innovative treatments that will improve patient care.”

About USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center

At the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, more than 250 dedicated physicians and scientists are leading the fight to make cancer a disease of the past. As one of the eight original National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the United States, USC Norris has revolutionized cancer research, treatment, and prevention for nearly 50 years. Multidisciplinary teams provide the latest evidence-based care at USC Norris Cancer Hospital, a 60-bed hospital, as well as outpatient clinics throughout Los Angeles and Orange counties.

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