Registry of all cancer patients in Utah to receive up to $28M from National Cancer Institute

Stock image | Getty Images, St. George News

SALT LAKE CITY — Huntsman Cancer Institute and the University of Utah will receive up to $28 million over the next 10 years from the National Cancer Institute to continue its participation in the Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results program – or SEER.

The work is conducted through the Utah Cancer Registry at the University of Utah, in collaboration with the Utah Department of Health.

The Utah Cancer Registry  is one of the original National Cancer Institute SEER cancer registries with data collection efforts that span more than four decades, according to a press release from the Huntsman Cancer Institute.

The goal of the registry is to provide high-quality data on all cancer patients diagnosed or treated in Utah, and the SEER program collectively gathers data from 16 population-based cancer registries across the nation. This covers more than 34 percent of the U. S. population.

There are plans underway to expand data collection to eventually include detailed treatment data, information about cancer recurrence and diagnostic genomic data. These new initiatives will foster research that could ultimately help prevent cancer and prolong the lives of those diagnosed with the disease.

“The work that the SEER registry does is particularly valuable because it systematically tracks cancer occurrences and deaths in such a large area of the United States,” said Jennifer A. Doherty, Utah Cancer Registry executive director, cancer researcher and associate professor of population health sciences at the University of Utah.

SEER infrastructure provides the backbone for impactful cancer research, particularly for rare cancer types and to understand cancer patterns across racial and ethnic groups.”

As one of the SEER registries, Huntsman Cancer Institute is part of a large-scale initiative to understand the complexities of cancer.

The data the Utah Cancer Registry collects are a rich resource for cancer research, and the registry’s value is amplified through sophisticated work to combine these data with computerized Utah genealogy data via the Utah Population Database, managed by Huntsman Cancer Institute.

Collectively, this data comprises a powerful resource for identifying high-risk cancer families, according to Lisa Cannon-Albright, a Huntsman investigator and professor of internal medicine at the University of Utah.

The Utah Cancer Registry benefits from data provided by Intermountain Healthcare and many other Utah hospitals and laboratories. The information contributed by the registry captures people all over the state, including those who live in rural and frontier communities, which reflects Utah’s geographical makeup. Thus the data are essential for understanding cancer trends and for evaluating the impact of cancer control programs throughout the state.

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