The CDU/UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center
In 2003, Drs. Judith Gasson (UCLA) and Jaydutt Vadgama (CDU) secured a collaborative U56 planning grant from the NCI for planning a series of collaborative programs in cancer research and treatment. Through this planning grant, the CDU/UCLA partnership began planning, designing, and searching for funding for components of a CDU Cancer Center. The center is designed to include an administrative, research, planning and evaluation, and developmental core, all of which encompass programs that focus on the biology, etiology, prevention, detection, diagnosis and/or treatment of human malignancies, including breast cancer. UCLA established investigators mentor or co-investigate with promising CDU breast cancer researchers, as well as share UCLA-JCCC and CDU resources to create a breast cancer research program within a freestanding CDU cancer center with a focus on minority and underserved populations.
Building from a long-standing collaborative relationship, the two institutions are ideally suited to create a breast cancer training environment for researchers. The CDU catchment area, located in the heavily impoverished and minority community of South Los Angeles, suffers a disproportionately high rate of breast cancer. In SPA 6, the service planning area in which CDU falls, breast cancer is the tenth leading cause of disability adjusted life years in women (1) breast cancer is among the most commonly diagnosed cancers in women and accounts for 31% of diagnosed cancers in African American women, far more than any other form of cancer. As with other cancers, a disproportionate number of deaths are among minorities and women of low income. Although death rates from breast cancer have leveled in African American women, this rate is 28% higher than in Caucasian women. The five-year relative survival rate for breast cancer among African American women is 71% compared with 86% among whites.
Goals of the collaborative are to:
1) Develop resource infrastructure to recruit and retain breast cancer investigators, and build resources that are critical to sustain a long-term breast cancer research program
2) provide training and career development opportunities for CDU investigators
3) develop competitive research projects that lead to publications, funding, additional training, and outreach.