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Research

Research2020-11-18T15:49:36+00:00

USC Norris Westside Cancer Center

Located in Beverly Hills, the USC Norris Westside Cancer Center is a multi-disciplinary cancer clinic and clinical trials center. We work to provide care for patients with prostate and other genito-urinary cancers and bring innovative therapies to patients through clinical trials. Our goal is to make the most exciting and promising molecular targeted therapeutics available for our patients. Our team is comprised of medical oncologists, radiologists, radiation therapists and urologists.

The Radiomics Lab is a research group in the Department of Radiology at USC in Los Angeles. Our multidisciplinary team of radiologists, urologists, oncologists , engineers, researchers, programmers and statisticians are committed to developing image analysis tools, cutting-edge clinical workflows and aiding cost-effective and personalized precision medicine.

We focus on developing robust computational methods of extracting quantifiable features from medical images encompassing a wide range of imaging modalities and diseases. We have been able to extract and analyze a large amount of information relating to tumor behavior and tumor microenvironment and identify correlates and associations with genetic, molecular and pathological evaluation of tumors. In addition, we develop clinical decision support tools to aid diagnosticians to make more informed decisions about the diagnosis as well as the prognosis.

Epigenetic Translational Research Lab
Gangning Liang, MD, PhD
Director of Epigenetic Translational Research and Professor of Urology

Understanding the functional consequences of genetic and epigenetic alterations during tumorigenesis is important for diagnosis, prognosis, disease monitoring and personalized treatment. Our team works to not only develop epigenetic markers for diagnosis, prognosis and monitoring disease status but also to identify therapeutic targets in urological cancer.

DNA methylation markers for bladder cancer:
Our team has previously identified methylation markers that accurately predict bladder cancer recurrence in urine sediments (Su et al., Clinical Cancer Res. 2014). We also worked together with Zymo Research Corp. for the development of a noninvasive assay to measure bladder cancer–specific markers in urine sediment for diagnosis and prognostication. These can be collected without a patient clinic visit and can be especially useful for monitoring cancer recurrence and helping to determine response to chemotherapy and other intravesical treatments. Currently Dr. Siamak Daneshmand is leading clinic trials in these clinic applications.

DNA methylation markers for predication of aggressive prostate cancer:
Slow-growing prostate cancer (PC) can still be aggressive in a subset of cases. Therefore, prognostic tools to guide clinical decision-making and avoid overtreatment of indolent PC and undertreatment of aggressive disease are urgently needed. By working with Dr. Inderbir Gill, our team has developed a panel of DNA methylation for determining PC aggressiveness, with the potential to impact clinical decision-making, such as targeted biopsy approaches for early diagnosis and active surveillance, in addition to potentially determining candidates for focal therapy (Mundbjerg et al., Genome Biology 2017).

DNA methylation markers to distinguish subtype of kidney cancer:
The clinical management of small renal masses (SRM) is challenging, since the current methods for distinguishing between benign masses and malignant renal cell carcinomas are frequently inaccurate or inconclusive. In addition, renal cancer subtypes also have different treatments and outcomes. High false-negative rates increase the risk of cancer progression, and indeterminate diagnoses result in unnecessary and potentially morbid surgical procedures. Along with Dr. Inderbir Gill, our team has also developed a panel of DNA methylation markers that can be used in routine needle biopsies to determine tumor classification of SRMs and to support the clinical decision-making (Chopra et al., Oncotarget 2017).

Translational Genomics

We are deeply committed to excellence in translational genomics research, bringing to bear vast experience and expertise in molecular genetics, genome science, biomedical informatics, translational science and molecular medicine. Our ultimate goal is to serve the Keck Medicine of USC community, by bridging basic and clinical research through discovery and validation of novel diagnostics and therapeutics for earlier diagnosis and smarter treatments.

USC Michelson Center for Convergent Science in Cancer
The USC Michelson Center for Convergent Science in Cancer integrates patient, model system and high-content single-cell data to translate clinically observed correlations into a mechanistic understanding of the physical and biological underpinnings of cancer dynamics. The organizing framework of the physical dynamics of cancer at the lab focuses on the spatial distributions and temporal evolution of the disease at the cellular, human and population scale.

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Keck Medicine of USC is the University of Southern California’s medical enterprise, one of only two university-owned academic medical centers in the Los Angeles area.