UCLA teams with Drew to provide cancer care

Leading-edge experimental cancer treatments will be provided to an underserved, minority patient population in South Central Los Angeles under a new partnership between UCLA's Jonsson Cancer Center and Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, cancer center officials announced Nov.19.

The partnership, funded in part by a two-year, $500,000 grant from the National Cancer Institute, seeks to address the unequal burden of cancer on the working poor and minority communities that Drew serves, said Dr. Judith C. Gasson, director of UCLA's Jonsson Cancer Center.

"Studies have shown that individuals in underserved populations don't have access to the best cancer care and screening, due in part to cultural and economic barriers. As a result, their cancers often are advanced at diagnosis and their outcomes are poor," said Gasson, who worked for five years to make the Drew/UCLA Cancer Partnership Program a reality. "This collaboration will address the unequal burden that cancer places on those populations."

The partnership program will bring Jonsson Cancer Center clinical trials to Drew University patients, including studies of the newly targeted therapies that are showing promise in fighting cancer. It also seeks to strengthen Drew University's cancer research and training programs through collaborative research projects and partnerships with UCLA's world-renowned scientists. Additionally, the partnership program will recruit and train individuals who, in turn, will stay and work with residents in South Central's underserved communities.

"This affiliation will markedly enhance our research and clinical cancer treatment capability," said Dr. Keith Norris, Drew University's associate dean for research. "In general, cancer death rates among African Americans and Latino Americans are higher than other racial groups in the United States. With broader treatment options, we will be able to produce healthier outcomes and decrease morbidity an

Contact: Kim Irwin
University of California - Los Angeles

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