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The National Cancer Institute is renewing its collaboration with the Huntsman Cancer Institute to continue collecting data on cancer patients treated in Utah.

SALT LAKE CITY — The National Cancer Institute is renewing its collaboration with the Huntsman Cancer Institute to continue collecting data on cancer patients treated in Utah.

The data, combined with what's been collected in Utah over the past 40 years, could "foster research that could ultimately help prevent cancer and prolong the lives of those diagnosed with the disease," according to the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah.

The Salt Lake-based, award-winning treatment and research center's continued participation in the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results program will help to bolster cancer research, combining Utah's rich Population Database with cancer registries across the nation.

The SEER program gathers data and provides statistics from registries covering 34 percent of the United States.

The agency will contribute up to $28 million over 10 years to help with the effort that will fortify the Utah Cancer Registry, which was created in 1966 and utilizes computerized genealogy data housed in the one-of-a-kind Utah Population Database.

Together, the data systems can help to identify high-risk cancer families, said Lisa Cannon-Albright, a Huntsman Cancer Institute investigator and professor of internal medicine at the U.

She said the data have been used to study family histories, "directly assisting the identification of several cancer predisposition genes," including those leading to potentially deadly breast, skin, pancreatic and prostate cancers.

"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 Doherty, executive director at the Utah Cancer Registry, Huntsman cancer researcher and associate professor of population health sciences at the U.

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

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Huntsman is continually taking part in the national cancer researcher's large-scale initiative to understand the complexities of cancer, "a stellar example of a broad community effort in cancer research," said Cornelia Ulrich, director of Huntsman's comprehensive cancer center and a U. professor of population health.

"We are proud of the impact the registry has had and continues to expand upon," she said.

The continued collaboration includes plans to expand data collection, such as detailed treatment data, information about cancer recurrence and diagnostic genomic data.