South by South Lawn: A White House Festival of Ideas, Art, and Action

SXSL is a presidential initiative to bring together creative minds to make a positive difference in our country. Leaders in various fields will gather from across the nation to showcase how they are solving some of the toughest challenges in their own unique and innovative ways. On Monday, October 3, our lab will demonstrate our own efforts at answering the presidential call to action to accelerate cancer research and end cancer as we know it.

Visitors to the Cancer Moonshot booth will experience what it’s like to be a cancer patient from a clinical trial perspective with USC’s Analytical Tools to Objectively Measure Human Performance (ATOM-HP). We will demonstrate how we are using technology to continually monitor the well-being of patients to achieve the best measure of health when combined with physician assessed performance status. Visitors will get a glimpse into the future of patient care and experience how an Internet of Things (IoT) approach is enabling greater collaboration between cancer patients, physicians, and scientists. READ MORE>>>

Convergence Science Initiative – Cancer: CSI-Cancer

  • CSI Cancer is focused on improving the lives of cancer patients through scientific insights relevant to individual patients.CSI_Flower
  • CSI Cancer at USC is led by Dr. Peter Kuhn (email: and each project is led by a team comprised of patients, medical doctors, scientists and students focused on solving the clinical challenge through basic science breakthroughs that can be translated into real world solutions.

cancerbasesideblue (1)Basic yet critical information about most cancers and how they spread through the body just isn’t readily available. Today, CancerBase, a grassroots collaboration of patients, scientists, and social media volunteers, will go live with a way to connect patients all around the world to solve this problem, providing critical information to patients. Our goal is to bring together millions of patients to anonymously contribute the “what, when, and where” of their cancers, empowering themselves, each other, and scientists to see cancer more clearly. READ MORE>>>

CSI Cancer and the Kuhn laboratory at USC are proud to be part of CancerBase.

Recent News

The Cancer Fluid Biopsy Research Group
The Cancer Fluid Biopsy Research GroupTuesday, March 21st, 2017 at 8:28am

We invite applications for a postdoctoral position studying the application of stable isotopes to medical research. The candidate will explore a variety of isotope systems including both ‘traditional’ stable isotope systems (e.g. δ13C, δ15N, and δ33S) and non-traditional isotope systems (e.g. δ65Cu, δ56Fe, and δ66Zn). The candidate will be responsible for developing new analytical protocols for work with biological samples, including both fluid and tissue. Experience in some aspect of elemental or stable isotope analytical chemistry is necessary. Experience in ICPMS or similar techniques is desired, particularly experience in multi-collector ICPMS. This interdisciplinary project requires a candidate with an ability to communicate clearly across a wide range of subject areas from isotope geochemistry to medicine, and with a passion for analytical excellence applied to the science of human health.

The candidate will work with an interdisciplinary team at the University of Southern California, based in the John Lab and including collaborators both from the Department of Earth Sciences and the Keck School of Medicine. Interested applicants should contact Professor Seth John,
The Cancer Fluid Biopsy Research Group
The Cancer Fluid Biopsy Research GroupTuesday, December 13th, 2016 at 9:15am
Today President Obama Delivers Remarks and Signs the 21st Century Cures Act.
The $6.3 billion health legislation had been in the works since 2014 and enjoyed bipartisan support. It provides funding over 10 years for three specific Obama-era research initiatives: $1.8 billion for the cancer moonshot, $1.6 billion for the BRAIN initiative, and $1.4 billion for the Precision Medicine Initiative. The bill also states $1 billion in grants over two years to fight the opioid abuse and addiction epidemic.
The Cancer Fluid Biopsy Research Group
The Cancer Fluid Biopsy Research GroupFriday, November 11th, 2016 at 9:00am
In the first international collaboration of The Cancer Moonshot initiative headed up by President Obama’s Vice President Joe Biden, the groups of Professors Dive and Kuhn will continue to collaborate to extend the utility of HD-SCA platform for early detection of cancers.

The work entitled “Vasculogenic mimicry in small cell lung cancer”, which encompassed use of the HD-SCA platform, has enabled greater depth of understanding of small cell lung cancer—termed by the National Cancer Institute as a recalcitrant disease—with few clinical options and a dismal prognosis.
Professor Dive said “it looks like vasculogenic mimicry potentially enables the growth of chemotherapy-resistant tumors and potentially could be a useful and much needed new therapeutic target in small cell lung cancer”. “Biopsies are very challenging to carry out in small cell lung cancer, so if we can assess the prevalence of VM via a blood test, we can more easily identify which patients might benefit from vasculogenic mimicry–targeted approaches that are currently in development” added Professor Dive.
Read the full publication at
The Cancer Fluid Biopsy Research Group
The Cancer Fluid Biopsy Research GroupWednesday, November 9th, 2016 at 9:00am
The work entitled “VASCULOGENIC MIMICRY IN SMALL CELL LUNG CANCER” is now published in Nature Communications. Exciting research led by the laboratory of Professor Caroline Dive at the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute (at The University of Manchester UK) discovered that a subset of small cell lung cancer (SCLC) circulating tumor cells (CTCs) expressed a protein normally expressed by endothelial cells called Vascular Endothelial Cadherin (VE-Cadherin) consistent with a process termed vasculogenic mimicry (VM). VM, a manifestation of tumor plasticity, is the ability to form blood perfusing channels independent of the patient’s own vasculature, reducing reliance on normal blood vessel development for survival, rapid growth and spread that is distinct from but complementary to tumour angiogenesis.

This study resulted from a transatlantic collaboration between the laboratories of Professors Caroline Dive (Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute at The University of Manchester, UK), Mary Hendrix (Shepherd University, WV and her laboratory at West Virginia University, USA) who pioneered VM research, and Peter Kuhn for expert single cell analysis.

The team isolated and confirmed the tumor identity of the VE-Cadherin positive subset of circulating cells using the High-Definition Single Cell Assay (HD-SCA), and showed that these cells exhibited extensive chromosomal aberrations typical of SCLC. The group followed up the CTC discovery confirming that patient’s tumour biopsies with higher levels of VM had poorer outcomes. Furthermore modulating VM in a xenograft model by targeting VE-Cadherin with short hairpin RNAs reduced the delivery of chemotherapy drugs in keeping with a VM-mediated improved blood supply. However, subsequent response to the drugs was reduced, implicating VM signalling in chemo-resistance.
These data suggest that even though rare, VM competent SCLC cells may be able to promote outgrowth of chemo-resistant clones preceding treatment failure. Further studies are warranted to determine precisely how VE-cadherin signaling regulates VM in SCLC and how VE-cadherin signaling could be exploited as a therapeutic target in this most recalcitrant cancer.

Read the full publication at
The Cancer Fluid Biopsy Research Group
The Cancer Fluid Biopsy Research GroupFriday, November 4th, 2016 at 8:00am
Interesting op-ed written by USC President Nikias on the influence of higher education on innovation. The piece features the amazing research of Professors Peter Kuhn and Mark Humayun.
The Cancer Fluid Biopsy Research Group
The Cancer Fluid Biopsy Research GroupTuesday, November 1st, 2016 at 8:00am
The High-definition single cell assay (HD-SCA) platform allows the detection and characterization of individual and clustered tumor cells across different disease states and sample types in prostate cancer. The inclusion of bone marrow aspirates as part of a feasible and widely applicable liquid biopsy approach opens new opportunities for the analysis of advanced prostate cancer. Compared to image-guided biopsies, BMAs are easier and more cost-effective to obtain, and can be collected repeatedly during cancer progression and treatment cycles, providing reliable access to the most relevant metastatic component of the tumor that can complement and expand the observations made in blood.

Read the full publication at