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Peter Kuhn, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Department of Cell and Molecular Biology
California Campus
Laboratory Website
(858) 784-9114

Scripps Research Joint Appointments

Faculty, Graduate Program

Research Focus

Dr. Kuhn is the principal investigator and program director of the Scripps Physics Oncology Center,  His laboratory is advancing personalized cancer care by linking individual patient biology to clinical decision making.

The Physics and Mathematics of Cancer Metastasis:

Early detection of cancer and monitoring of cancer therapy are critical in increasing the chances of survival. The CBRP is developing and testing an innovative instrument and method to greatly improve both the early detection of breast cancer and help improve disease progression monitoring.

Metastasis, the major cause of mortality in patients with cancer, is caused by tumor cells that escape from the primary tumor into the bloodstream and travel through the circulation to distant sites where they develop into secondary tumors. Although these circulating tumor cells (CTCs) provide a link between the primary tumor and metastatic sites, the factors involved in circulating tumor cell survival in the blood circulation and eventual metastases are not well understood.

CTCs exist in the peripheral blood of cancer patients in low concentrations, making their isolation and identification a difficult task. Our laboratory has developed a reliable way to detect and to characterize CTCs isolated from the blood of cancer patients. We currently have multiple on-going clinical trials aimed to investigate the clinical utility of CTCs.
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Diploma, Julius Maximilians University of Wurzburg, 1992
M.S., State University of New York at Albany, 1993
Ph.D., State University of New York at Albany, 1995

Selected References

For a complete list of publications:

Also available listing at Google Scholar

Fluid biopsy for solid tumors: a patient's companion for lifelong characterization of their disease.  Nieva JJ, Kuhn P.   Future Oncol. 2012 Aug;8(8):989-98.

Optical quantification of cellular mass, volume, and density of circulating tumor cells identified in an ovarian cancer patient. Phillips KG, Velasco CR, Li J, Kolatkar A, Luttgen M, Bethel K, Duggan B, Kuhn P, McCarty OJ.   Front Oncol. 2012;2:72.  

Unifying metastasis--integrating intravasation, circulation and end-organ colonization. Scott J, Kuhn P, Anderson AR.   Nat Rev Cancer. 2012 Jul;12(7):445-6.

A stochastic Markov chain model to describe lung cancer growth and metastasis. Newton PK, Mason J, Bethel K, Bazhenova LA, Nieva J, Kuhn P.   PLoS One. 2012;7(4):e34637.

Characterization of circulating tumor cell aggregates identified in patients with epithelial tumors. Cho EH, Wendel M, Luttgen M, Yoshioka C, Marrinucci D, Lazar D, Schram E, Nieva J, Bazhenova L, Morgan A, Ko AH, Korn WM, Kolatkar A, Bethel K, Kuhn   P. Phys Biol. 2012 Feb;9(1):016001

Cytometric comparisons between circulating tumor cells from prostate cancer patients and the prostate-tumor-derived LNCaP cell line. Lazar DC, Cho EH, Luttgen MS, Metzner TJ, Uson ML, Torrey M, Gross ME, Kuhn P.  Phys Biol. 2012 Feb;9(1):016002

A fluid biopsy as investigating technology for the fluid phase of solid tumors. Kuhn P, Bethel K.    Phys Biol. 2012 Feb;9(1):010301.

Fluid biopsy for circulating tumor cell identification in patients with early-and late-stage non-small cell lung cancer: a glimpse into lung cancer biology.  Wendel M, Bazhenova L, Boshuizen R, Kolatkar A, Honnatti M, Cho EH, Marrinucci D, Sandhu A, Perricone A, Thistlethwaite P, Bethel K, Nieva J, Heuvel Mv, Kuhn P.   Phys Biol. 2012 Feb;9(1):016005.

Fluid biopsy in patients with metastatic prostate, pancreatic and breast cancers.  Marrinucci D, Bethel K, Kolatkar A, Luttgen MS, Malchiodi M, Baehring F, Voigt K, Lazar D, Nieva J, Bazhenova L, Ko AH, Korn WM, Schram E, Coward M, Yang X, Metzner T, Lamy R, Honnatti M, Yoshioka C, Kunken J, Petrova Y, Sok D, Nelson D, Kuhn P.   Phys Biol. 2012 Feb;9(1):016003. 

High-definition imaging of circulating tumor cells and associated cellular events in non-small cell lung cancer patients: a longitudinal analysis.  Nieva J, Wendel M, Luttgen MS, Marrinucci D, Bazhenova L, Kolatkar A, Santala R, Whittenberger B, Burke J, Torrey M, Bethel K, Kuhn P.   Phys Biol. 2012 Feb;9(1):016004.


Fluid Phase of Solid Tumors: Circulating Tumor Cells