Clinical Research

Since its founding in 1971, the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center has been committed to investigating the complex origins and progression of cancer, developing treatment and prevention strategies and searching for cures. By offering access to innovative clinical trials and education, we empower patients to take an active role in their care.

Our primary location in Los Angeles County, an ethnically diverse and populous region, provides an opportunity for the study of cancer patterns, causes, prevention and treatment. The region’s diversity provides the backbone for our efforts in cancer control research and molecular epidemiology.

Novel clinical trials are evaluating diet, exercise and even simple changes to radiation and chemotherapy regimens, to unlock new understandings that help us better care for our patients. At any time, there may be more than 300 clinical trials taking place at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center. While participation in a clinical trial does not guarantee that a treatment will be received, these investigational therapies offer additional hope to those whose cancer is in late stages or is difficult to manage.

Our research is organized into five thematic and five translational programs. The thematic programs focus on molecular genetics, epigenetics and regulation, tumor microenvironment, cancer epidemiology and cancer control research. The translational programs concentrate on genitourinary cancers, gastrointestinal cancers, women’s cancers, leukemia and lymphoma, and developmental therapeutics. The developmental therapeutics program functions as a bridge, linking together the thematic and translational programs.

The transdisciplinary structure of the research programs allow our physicians, epidemiologists and biologists to work together. For example, when searching for novel treatments for breast cancer, the epidemiologists and geneticists study the environmental and genetic causes of breast cancer while the biochemists investigate the sub-cellular effects of hormonal therapies on breast cancer cells.

In partnership with the Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at the University, USC Norris established the Center for Molecular Pathways and Drug Discoveries, as part of its strategy to integrate stem cell research and cancer therapy.