The Department of Radiation Oncology Research Division is centered at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center. Clinical research focuses on testing new therapies for cancer, optimizing existing treatments, discovering prevention methods and developing ways to improve the quality of life for both healthy individuals and those living with cancer.
The nearly 200 members of the Norris cancer research team are organized into five thematic and five translational research programs. This includes a "bridge" program in developmental therapeutics. The thematic programs are in the fields of molecular genetics, epigenetics and regulation, tumor microenvironment, cancer epidemiology and cancer control research. The translational programs, which focus on our transdisciplinary research efforts, are in developmental therapeutics, genitourinary cancers, gastrointestinal cancers, women's cancers, and leukemia and lymphoma.
Under the transdisciplinary research model, investigational programs at Norris cancer center are organized by disease, not by academic discipline. This allows physicians, medical physicists, epidemiologists and biologists to work together to pool and apply their knowledge toward addressing specific components of cancer.
Norris cancer center interdisciplinary researchers investigate the complex origins and progression of cancer, develop prevention strategies, and search for cures. They study the abnormal cell growth associated with different cancers to determine the cause, and how the process can be altered. Their mission is to rapidly translate their findings into effective treatment protocols and prevention strategies.
Over the years of its history, Norris cancer center has made numerous pioneering and innovative contributions to cancer treatment and research, including the development of a major classification scheme for lymphoma, the discovery of the jun oncogene, the elucidation of links between steroid hormones and breast and prostate cancer, the development of surgical techniques for orthotopic bladder reconstruction, the establishment of the relationships between DNA methylation and cancer, the roles of glucose regulated proteins in cancer, the development of molecular markers for neuroblastoma, bladder cancer and GI cancers, 8q24’s link to prostate and colon cancer, and the identification of a key genetic mutation in lymphoma development.