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Cancer Stem Cell Biology and Therapy

Center of Economic Excellence



Award Amount

$5 million

Extramural Research Funding

$8.6 million

University Partner

Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC)
Clemson University

Private Sector Partner

Health Sciences South Carolina

The Center in Cancer Stem Cell Biology and Therapy focuses on developing new technologies for isolating, growing, and manipulating cancer stem cells. Cancer stem cells are adult stem cells that have the ability to reproduce themselves and develop into cancer. The Center will also find ways to use adult stem cells from bone marrow or organs to treat cancer.

The work of this Center is generating further understanding of cancer stem cells and ways to eradicate them without harming healthy cells. It could lead to the engineering of healthy adult stem cells that can replace cancerous cells in the body. The Center seeks to add a repository of adult cancer stem cells to the Health Sciences South Carolina tissue repository for use in further research across South Carolina.

Another objective of the Center is to use novel treatments, such as carbon nanotubes, to inhibit the growth of cancer stem cells. MUSC's Dr. Bryan Toole and MUSC Pediatrics Professor Dr. Bernard Maria are studying the use of hyaluronan, a compound that resides on the surface of cancer stem-like cells, as a treatment for glioblastoma tumors. Hyaluronan, along with two other substances, regulates the activities of cancer stem-like cells.

In 2011, MUSC succeeded in recruiting Dr. Zihai Li, an expert in stem cell-based cancer vaccine development.

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