Would You Like To Book A SmartState Program Speaker?

Click Here

Gastrointestinal Cancer Diagnostics

Center of Economic Excellence



Award Amount

$5 million

External Funding Above Match

$17 million

Research Focus

Clinical and translational gastrointestinal oncology and biomarker development and gastrointestinal (GI) malignancies. Bringing state-of-the-art translational medicine to all GI cancer patients in South Carolina, thereby decreasing the overall impact of cancer mortality and morbidity and closing disparity gaps throughout the state.

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.

Connect With SmartState Endowed Chairs To Learn About Their Research And Business Development Opportunities

Click Here