Our mission is to conduct research on the identification of novel drug targets, activated pathways, tumor heterogeneity and Cancer Stem Cell signaling in preclinical models and in annotated tumor tissues from patients with GI cancer. It’s our hope that this translatable research will lead to new drug developments and biomarker driven clinical trials with to improve our standard of care therapies.

Our Program

Our Gastrointestinal Cancer Program at USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center is nationally recognized as a leader in GI Cancer diagnostic, prevention, treatment and cancer genetics, providing comprehensive care for all gastrointestinal malignancies, including those of the esophagus, stomach, small bowl, colon, rectum, anal, neuroendocrine, biliary and pancreas as well as GIST. Each year, as one of the largest programs of its kind, we treat thousands of complex cancer cases. Our team has outstanding expertise in drug development, cancer genetics, chemoprevention, cancer predisposition, clinical trials, highly specialized surgeon focusing on liver, stomach, colorectal, lung and pancreas, cutting edge approached in radiation oncology and gastroenterologist with specialized technical skills and expertise for diagnostic and treatment strategies.

Our physicians have expertise and have developed minimally invasive laparoscopic or non-surgical, interventional endoscopic techniques. The following treatments were pioneered or largely developed at Keck Medicine of USC.

Barrett’s esophagus with high-grade dysplasia, an early form of cancer, responds well to endoscopic ablation and resection. This preserves the esophagus and eliminates the need for additional extensive surgery. Keck Medicine of USC specialists also developed two surgical procedures to treat advanced esophageal cancers: minimally invasive esophagectomy, where the esophagus is removed through a series of tiny incisions; and en-block esophagectomy, which is a 3-field lymph node dissection.

With one of the highest-volume referral centers in the region, Keck Medicine of USC’s highly skilled thoracic surgeons, expert oncologists, nurses and staff have extensive experience in the adjuvant and surgical treatment of gastric or stomach cancer. Proven, advanced surgical approaches not readily available at many medical centers, including endoscopic therapy for early cancers and minimally invasive surgical procedures for more advanced disease are available at our medical center. Patients can expect the optimal outcome for their unique situation, fewer complications, and a shorter, less painful recovery period than typically experienced with conventional surgery.

Affiliated with a university-based research program, we are one of the few colon cancer programs in the world to fully integrate predictive and prognostic molecular biomarker profiling to determine how well a patient’s cancer or tumor will respond to a specific chemotherapy protocol. Designing a treatment plan targeting a tumor’s unique genetics promises to result in better outcomes and less toxicities. Our GI Oncology Program has been continuously funded by the NIH/NCI to develop new treatment strategies for patients with GI Cancer. We are actively developing new therapies at Keck Medicine of USC and in collaboration with NCI as well as industry partners. This enables us to have unique access to cutting edge and promising new therapies for our patients.

Our program provides outstanding expertise in molecular profiling of the tumor, as well as cancer predisposition to develop personalized chemoprevention and treatment strategies to assure the best outcome.

Typically, only those patients with early, small, localized pancreatic tumors are considered appropriate candidates for surgical treatment. Now, the highly skilled surgeons at Keck Medicine of USC can offer patients with large, localized pancreatic tumors a surgical option. Specialists remove the tumor and apply blood vessel and vein reconstruction techniques perfected by transplant surgeons with outcomes superior to those with just radiation and chemotherapy. In many cases, the results appear similar to those who have undergone surgery for the initial stages of cancer.

Our Approach

Keck Medicine of USC offers patient-centered, individualized care. Prior to treatment, each patient’s case is reviewed by our tumor board, comprised of a multidisciplinary group of specialists representing surgery, gastroenterology, cancer genetics, pathology, radiology, radiation oncology and oncology. The board determines the best treatment plan for the patient’s unique condition and assembles a team expert in producing the best possible outcome for the particular disorder. A decision to apply multiple modes of therapy is based on the stage of the cancer, the results of the endoscopy, CT scan or other diagnostics, and the pathology of the biopsy. Our thoracic surgeons play an active role in determining the use of the therapies and communicate directly with oncologists to coordinate the best treatment plan for the patient.

Whenever possible, we choose minimally invasive or nonsurgical endoscopic procedures to decrease the risk for complications, and reduce recovery time and pain. These procedures routinely result in outcomes superior to more traditional surgical approaches.

Our Physicians

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Practicing Locations

Keck Medicine of USC - Pasadena
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Practicing Locations

Keck Hospital of USC
Keck Medicine of USC - Pasadena
Keck Medicine of USC – 1808 Verdugo Blvd.
LAC+USC Medical Center
USC Healthcare Center 4
USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital
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Practicing Locations

Keck Hospital of USC
USC Healthcare Center 4
USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital
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Practicing Locations

USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital
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Practicing Locations

USC Healthcare Center 4
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Practicing Locations

Keck Medicine of USC - Pasadena
USC Healthcare Center 4
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Practicing Locations

USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital
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Practicing Locations

Keck Hospital of USC
USC Healthcare Center 2
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Practicing Locations

USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital
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Practicing Locations

Keck Hospital of USC
USC Healthcare Center 4
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Practicing Locations

Keck Hospital of USC
Keck Medicine of USC - Pasadena
USC Healthcare Center 4
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Practicing Locations

Keck Hospital of USC
USC Healthcare Center 2