University of Southern California
USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center

Translational and Clinical Sciences Program

The overarching goal of the Translational and Clinical Sciences (TACS) Program is to conduct high impact translational research that will bring new diagnostics and therapies to patients. The program has three specific aims: 1) discover and develop novel therapies and combination therapies, including collaborations with basic science programs; 2) conduct innovative, high impact clinical trials with emphasis on early phase and investigator initiated trials; and 3) validate biomarkers of therapy response and clinical outcomes.

The program co-leaders, John Carpten, Ph.D., Parkash Gill, M.D., and Syma Iqbal, M.D., have complementary recognized expertise in cancer genomics, drug development, and clinical trials, respectively. TACS leadership is enriched by an inter-programmatic Steering Committee, which leverages expertise in genomics, biomarkers, molecular imaging and drug development, as well as regular meetings with Translational Disease Affinity Groups. By integrating molecular and genomics technologies, TACS members identify potential therapeutic targets through bulk, single cell, and spatial approaches. Investigations of circulating tumor material from liquid biopsies are leading to novel, non-invasive biomarker approaches for early detection and disease monitoring. TACs program members have identified and validated tumor-associated targets, developed agents that have been taken to first in human studies, developed companion imaging agents, and initiated multiple high priority investigator initiated trials. The program's 60 members come from four schools and 14 departments, and hold several multi-investigator grants including a U54, UM1, UG1, and a P50 to drive clinical and translational work to reduce cancer disparities and change the paradigm of care for cancer patients.