A nearly half-century old cancer registry managed by USC has received nearly $44 million to track the disease in Los Angeles County for the next 10 years, the university announced Monday.

The National Cancer Institute awarded Keck Medicine of USC and the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center $43.7 million to record incidents of cancer across the county for the Los Angeles Cancer Surveillance Program. Keck owns USC Hospital Verdugo Hills in Glendale.

Founded in 1970, the cancer registry managed by USC collects some 44,160 records each year from one of the most diverse counties in the nation. Considered one of the largest in the U.S., it contains more than 1.7 million cancer incidence cases.

“We are the first line of defense,” Dennis Deapen, director of the surveillance program and a professor of clinical preventative medicine at the USC medical school, said in a statement. “We identify cancer trends and pave roads that lead to better cancer prevention and treatment.”

The grant to USC from the NCI’s Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results Program, one of 19 nationwide, will be distributed over the next decade to support L.A. County cancer data collection.