Kuhn • Hicks Lab: Convergence Science Initiative — CSI Cancer
CSI-Cancer was founded by Dr. Peter Kuhn, Dean’s Professor of biological sciences, professor of medicine, biomedical engineering and aerospace and mechanical engineering. Dr. Kuhn’s approach starts by describing the wicked problem of cancer as a research challenge of the time-space continuum where the lethality of the disease increases with the spread through the body and with its adaptation to therapeutic pressure over time. CSI-Cancer built a set of pilot projects that explore the time-space continuum in every patient through a) a blood based liquid biopsy with single cell proteogenomics capabilities (HD-SCA), b) a suite of analytical tools for the objective measurement of human performance (AtomHP) to understand the patient’s health status and c) traffic patterns of cancers across large numbers of patients (CancerBase). In 2016 alone a first product of the blood liquid biopsy became available for patient care in patients with prostate cancer and each of the three projects above were singled out as a priority in Vice President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot. Most recently in the report to President Obama, the HD-SCA joined forces with other technologies to build the Blood Profiling Atlas Commons (Blood PAC) and the AtomHP was put forward as a key approach to understand the physical, physiological, psychological and environmental stressor that affect a cancer patient during treatment. Each project in CSI-Cancer involves faculty and students across the USC core competencies in medicine, science and engineering. Dr. Kuhn joined President Obama’s SXSL festival at the White House in October of 2016 to demonstrate the AtomHP for which he was joined by a student from USC’s Iovine and Young Academy where the human research is taking place, faculty members from the Academy, from USC’s Dornsife Department of Psychology to quantitate patient reported outcomes, from USC’s Viterbi School of Engineering to quantitate motion, posture and expressions, and from the Keck School of Medicine of USC to lead the oncologic patient care. It is USC’s deep expertise in all of these areas that enable CSI-Cancer to solve some of the hardest problems facing society today.