GI Cancer Diagnostics Center of Economic Excellence Endowed Chairs

Dr. Melanie Thomas
Grace E. DeWolff Chair in Medical Oncology
Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC)

Dr. Carolyn Britten
SmartState Endowed Chair in
GI Malignancy Diagnostic & Therapeutic Trials

The Medical University of South 
Carolina recently opened a state-of-
the-art Drug Discovery Building, part 
of the James E. Clyburn Research 
Center. More>

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Gastrointestinal Cancer Diagnostics

Center of Economic Excellence

Inception

2005

Award Amount

$5 million

Extramural Research Funding

$14.7 million

University Partner

Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC)

Private Sector Partner 

Roche Carolina
Bank of America

The Gastrointestinal (GI) Cancer Diagnostics Center researches state-of-the-art translational medicine for gastrointestinal cancer patients, with hopes of decreasing the overall impact of cancer mortality and morbidity and closing disparity gaps in South Carolina. Areas of research include molecular profiling, therapeutic targets, screening technologies, therapy, environmental interactions and population studies, with particular emphasis on esophageal cancer, which is highly prevalent in South Carolina.

The Center was instrumental in the awarding of a 2009 National Cancer Institute (NCI) Cancer Center designation to the MUSC Hollings Cancer Center. In June 2009, the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) also received a $20 million National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical and Translational Science Award.

The Center’s researchers are conducting clinical trials in pancreatic, colon, kidney, liver, and esophageal cancers. SmartState Endowed Chair Dr. Melanie Thomas is collaborating on a clinical trial with Cancer Drug Discovery SmartState Endowed Chair Charles Smith to test the success of a new drug for pancreatic cancer developed in Dr. Smith’s laboratory.

Under the leadership of Dr. Thomas, the Center has initiated numerous clinical trials of novel biologic anti-cancer agents for patients with malignancies in all sites in the GI tract. The spectrum of clinical trials she currently leads include investigator-initiated, Southwest Oncology Group, industry-sponsored, and CTEP-sponsored Phase I, II, and randomized Phase II trials.

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