A nearly half-century old cancer registry managed by USC has received nearly $44 million to track the disease in Los Angeles County for the next 10 years, the university announced May 21

The National Cancer Institute awarded Keck Medicine of USC and the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center $43.7 million to record incidents of cancer across the county for the Los Angeles Cancer Surveillance Program.

The registry, founded in 1970, is credited for improving the understanding, prevention and control of one of the leading causes of death worldwide.

“We are the first line of defense,” said Dennis Deapen, director of the surveillance program and a professor of clinical preventative medicine at the USC medical school, in a statement. “We identify cancer trends and pave roads that lead to better cancer prevention and treatment.”

The grant to USC from the NCI’s Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results Program (SEER), one of 19 nationwide, will be distributed over the next decade to support L.A. County cancer data collection.

The cancer registry managed by USC collects some 44,160 records each year from one of the most diverse counties in the nation. Considered one of the largest in the U.S., it contains more than 1.7 million cancer incidence cases.

Health researchers mine the data to spot cancer trends and to advance a growing field of precision medicine. A few weeks ago, USC received $3.7 million from the National Institutes of Health as part of a $1.5 billion study to track the health of a million Americans to advance precision-based care.

Health business reporter Dana Bartholomew can be reached at dbartholomew@labusinessjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @_DanaBart.