Newswise — FREMONT, CA (July 31, 2018) — The Cancer Prevention Institute of California (CPIC), a San Francisco Bay Area independent, nonprofit cancer research institute, announced today that it will disband as an independent cancer research institute 44 years after its founding. The organization has offices in Fremont and Berkeley, California.
Over the years, CPIC researchers have transitioned to other institutions, including in the academic and industry sectors. With the remaining CPIC researchers transitioning to the University of California, San Francisco and Stanford University, the research programs of CPIC will continue on at these Bay Area institutions and their respective cancer centers: the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center at UCSF and the Stanford Cancer Institute.
CPIC is a public health organization focused on informing the public about the risk factors of cancer, reporting on the rates of cancer incidence and mortality, and examining disparities in cancer.
The organization has been primarily funded through public grants. Over the past several years, CPIC has been confronted with a dwindling federal funding environment. As an independent, nonprofit research institute, this presented an insurmountable hurdle in fulfilling the cancer prevention mission of the organization.
According to Matt O’Grady, Interim CEO of the Cancer Prevention Institute of California, “While CPIC will no longer operate as the independent organization that has existed for 44 years, we take great comfort in knowing CPIC’s legacy will live on since all of CPIC’s scientific and community education programs are being preserved and will carry on either at UCSF or at Stanford. We’re also thankful very few jobs will be lost as a result.”
Once all of CPIC’s financial obligations have been met, the remaining funds will be used to endow cancer prevention fellowships at the Stanford Cancer Institute and the Diller Cancer Center at UCSF. As stated by Lou Weller, Chairman of the CPIC Board of Trustees, “The CPIC Board of Trustees is gratified that the cancer prevention mission of the organization will carry on for many years to come with these fellowships.”
Established in 1974 as the Northern California Cancer Program, the organization was initially formed to assist with clinical trials of cancer drugs. The organization later became known as the Northern California Cancer Center. The name was changed again in 2010 when it became the Cancer Prevention Institute of California to reflect its broader scope.
Over its history, CPIC has published many well-known studies. In 2002, in partnership with the Marin Health Department, the organization reported on the elevated levels of breast cancer among women in Marin County. In 2011, California became the first state to ban minors from tanning beds influenced by CPIC’s research that found an elevated level of melanoma among minors who used them. That same year, a CPIC study also found nail salon workers are exposed to an unhealthy amount of toxic chemicals. A CPIC study conducted with Stanford in 2014 found women with early-stage breast cancer treated with bilateral mastectomy did not have better survival than those treated with breast conserving therapy.
Community education was an integral part of CPIC’s mission throughout its existence. In 1974, with few organizations providing support to cancer patients, CPIC developed conferences, workplace wellness seminars, and multi-lingual publications.
CPIC also previously served as a state call center for the Cancer Information Service and Every Woman Counts, a breast and cervical cancer detection program.
Several of CPIC’s research programs will continue at UCSF through the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. The body of collective research includes studies evaluating the environmental causes of cancer, the role of neighborhoods, and cancer health disparities. Former CPIC scientists who are continuing their work at UCSF include Iona Cheng, PhD, MPH; Scarlett Lin Gomez, PhD, MPH; Peggy Reynolds, PhD, MPH; and Salma Shariff-Marco, PhD, MPH.
The UCSF Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center will also assume management of the Greater Bay Area Cancer Registry (GBACR) under the leadership of the current CPIC Director Scarlett Lin Gomez, Co-Investigators Iona Cheng and Salma Shariff-Marco, and Registry Operations Director Kathleen Davidson-Allen. Since 1973, CPIC has been tracking through the Registry the 30,000 cancers diagnosed and 10,000 deaths that occur each year in the Greater Bay Area. The Registry is an important resource to help understand the cancer burden, risk factors, and the impact of cancer control programs.
“Thanks to its mission, leadership and scientific rigor over four decades, CPIC data underpins some of the most key research milestones in our understanding of cancer incidence, “said Alan Ashworth, PhD, FRS, president of the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. “Given our focus on precision public health and precision medicine, UCSF is the right institution to lead and operate the GBACR as it evolves into areas of more complex surveillance.”
UCSF will also continue to host the Annual CPIC Breast Cancer Conference for cancer patients and survivors. CPIC has hosted this conference for 17 years.
Esther John, PhD, MSPH, whose research focuses on breast and prostate cancer, will continue her research at the Stanford Cancer Institute and in the Department of Medicine, Division of Oncology. According to Beverly Mitchell, director of the Stanford Cancer Institute, “While we are sad to see the dissolution of CPIC, our long-term partner in cancer prevention research, we are truly delighted that Esther John has joined the Stanford faculty to continue her outstanding work in the fields of breast and prostate cancers.” The affiliation between CPIC and Stanford began in 2005.
The transfer of the Greater Bay Area Cancer Registry from the Cancer Prevention Institute of California to the University of California, San Francisco has been approved by the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, and also by the California Department of Public Health. This project has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, under contract number HHSN261201800010I.
About the Cancer Prevention Institute of California
The Cancer Prevention Institute of California is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing cancer and to reducing its burden where it cannot yet be prevented. We are the only freestanding research institution working solely to prevent cancer using extensive population data. Our researchers study a wide range of cancer risk factors, such as racial/ethnic background, socioeconomic status, age, occupation, gender, genetic predisposition, geographic location, environment and lifestyle to determine how these factors affect frequency, distribution and types of cancers. For more information, visit the CPIC website at www.cpic.org.
Donna Lock, Cancer Prevention Institute of California, 510-608-5160 | [email protected]
Elizabeth Fernandez, UCSF, 415-514-1592 | [email protected]