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MUSC Hollings Cancer Center earns its highest score, receives NCI-designation renewal

There's a building called "Hollings Cancer Center" with many cars parked in front of it.

MUSC Hollings Cancer Center (HCC) has received the renewal of a five-year grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and achieved its best score ever of “outstanding performance.” Hollings Cancer Center is the only NCI-designated Cancer Center in South Carolina and one of only 72 in the country.

This NCI Cancer Center Support Grant renewal will provide Hollings with almost $11 million over the next five years to advance cancer research discoveries, sustain the work of scientific leadership and administration and maintain essential infrastructure, which includes shared resources for cancer scientists. The grant renewal represents an increase in funding compared with the previous five-year award, with new support for lifesaving clinical trials, innovative cancer research and community outreach and engagement programs that are not found anywhere else in the state.

NCI-designated cancer centers are recognized for their scientific leadership in laboratory and clinical research, in addition to serving their communities and the broader public by integrating training and education for biomedical researchers and health care professionals. They dedicate significant resources toward developing research programs, faculty and facilities that will lead to better and innovative approaches to cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment. NCI supports the research infrastructure for cancer centers to advance scientific goals and foster cancer programs that draw together investigators from different disciplines.

“This award confirms what we at MUSC already know about Hollings Cancer Center – that it stands among the highest caliber institutions for cancer care and research nationally,” said David Cole, M.D., FACS, president of MUSC. “It acknowledges the incredible accomplishments and dedication of physicians and scientists who are making discoveries that may one day lead to the eradication of cancer.”

To obtain renewed funding, NCI-designated cancer centers must undergo a rigorous evaluation process that includes a substantial 1,500-page grant application process followed by a full-day site visit by internationally recognized peer reviewers from across the country. This team evaluates cancer centers across multiple criteria, including the quality of basic and translational science programs, clinical and population-based research, cancer education, community outreach, clinical impact and the translation of research into patient care

“The renewed NCI designation of Hollings Cancer Center underscores the boundless innovation and unwavering passion of our researchers, providers and administrators,” said Lisa K. Saladin, PT, Ph.D., executive vice president for Academic Affairs and provost of MUSC. “Their dedication not only propels us to the forefront of cancer care and research but also ignites hope and drives advancements that will shape the future of oncology.”

Hollings currently has more than 140 specialists across more than 20 academic departments who study and treat cancer from diverse perspectives. With an annual research funding portfolio of more than $52 million and more than 200 clinical trials, Hollings focuses on getting this research to where it matters most: into clinics for the benefit of cancer patients.

Raymond N. DuBois, M.D., Ph.D., HCC director, associate provost of Cancer Programs, and the Charles Westerfield Coker Chair in GI Cancer stated, “I am unequivocally proud of our extraordinary Hollings team, deeply grateful for their unwavering commitment and profoundly thankful for their tireless efforts in improving cancer outcomes in South Carolina through unparalleled research excellence and the delivery of top-notch patient care.”

In the 2028 renewal cycle, Hollings Cancer Center will seek the highest level of excellence in cancer research from the NCI: Comprehensive Cancer Center status. This elite designation recognizes cancer centers for their leadership, infrastructure and resources, in addition to demonstrating an enhanced depth and breadth of research as well as substantial transdisciplinary research that bridges multiple scientific areas.

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Tamia Sumpter

Tamia is a driven senior undergraduate Bioengineering student currently enrolled at Clemson University. With a strong foundation in her field, she has honed her skills through hands-on experience in research and development at Eli Lilly & Company. During her time in the ADME department, Tamia contributed significantly by working on siRNAs and their applications in finding In Vitro-In Vivo Correlation (IVIVC). Looking ahead, Tamia has set her sights on a promising career in law. She aspires to specialize in Intellectual Property Law, with a particular focus on serving as in-house counsel for leading medical device or pharmaceutical companies. Her enthusiasm for this role is palpable as she prepares to embark on her legal journey! She is also a proud member of the Omicron Phi chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., PEER Mentor for Clemson PEER/WiSE, and currently serves as the President of Clemson Bioengineering Organization (CBO). With her unique blend of scientific knowledge and legal interests, Tamia is poised to make a meaningful impact in the healthcare and life sciences industries.