State of the Cancer Center address highlights past successes, future opportunities

Photo: Stephen Gruber, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., director of the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center

By Sara Reeve

In a talk that gave nods to the illustrious history of the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, director Stephen Gruber gave his annual State of the Cancer Center address on Jan. 22 to a large crowd of cancer center members, staff and students.

2013 marks the 40th anniversary of the cancer center’s founding as one of the original eight comprehensive cancer centers in the United States, and Gruber was keen to discuss the achievements of today and plans for the future in the context of the milestones of the past.

“The USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center still stands as one of the hallmark institutions of the war against cancer here in the U.S.,” said Gruber. “It’s critical to note that, as of today, there are exactly 41 comprehensive cancer centers, and we still play a leadership role.”

Gruber noted that 2013 also marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of USC Norris Cancer Hospital. The hospital, which has recently undergone a cosmetic refresh in its lobby and some inpatient areas, has also had significant capital investments in new equipment and technologies. 

“Ultimately, our goal is to bring great therapies to our patients and to provide exquisite, personalized care to our patients. We can only do that by advancing our research mission,” he said.

In outlining the cancer center’s 11 core research facilities and one developing core, Gruber continued to carry through the theme of building on the past. For each core, he highlighted key research developments of years past alongside the recent strides made by current members and plans for future research.

Gruber emphasized the success of the cancer center in the development arena, with almost $100 million raised since the beginning of The Campaign for the University of Southern California, which launched in 2010. He noted that the cancer center’s total goal for the campaign is $485 million, and that continued success in philanthropy is an important component in the success and growth of the cancer center.

“Our key focus needs to be on research,” he said. “We will in fact break new ground in cancer research as a globally recognized destination for patients with cancer and cancer-related diseases.”

In celebration of the 40th anniversary, Peter Jones, Distinguished Professor of urology and biochemistry and molecular biology, announced that the cancer center would host several special events throughout the year: a scientific symposium, a series of four continuing medical education courses, the groundbreaking for the Norris Healthcare Consultation Center on May 2, and a gala fundraiser scheduled for October.

University of Southern California University of Southern California