Designation for the MUSC
Guest: Dr. Andrew Kraft - Hollings Cancer Center (HCC) Director
Host: Dr. Linda Austin –
Dr. Linda Austin: We’re
delighted to announce that the NIH has designated MUSC’s Hollings Cancer
Center as a National
Cancer Institute-designated center, reflecting its outstanding body of
accomplishment in cancer research. Hollings Cancer Center
Director, Dr. Andrew Kraft, explains the significance of this designation.
Dr. Andrew Kraft: Well, the
National Cancer Institute designates 64 centers around the country as
outstanding in their depth and breadth of cancer research and clinical
care. And what they mean by depth and
breadth is that they want those centers, the NCI-designated centers, to be
outstanding clinical research and basic research that’s going to impact on
patients and really change the course and the nature of this disease. We’re now designated as one of those centers
based on our accomplishments.
Dr. Linda Austin: The many
doctors, researchers, nurses and staff have so many outstanding
accomplishments. Dr. Kraft comments on
just one of these.
Dr. Andrew Kraft: Another
highlight has been the development of the Center for Cellular Therapy
(CCT). I think what we would like to do,
as individuals, is use our own immune system to fight cancer. We all know that a lot of the agents that we
take can be pretty noxious and involve nausea and vomiting and hair loss. Clearly, we develop cancer at older ages
because our immune system becomes defective in some way. And the surveillance that it has provided for
20 or 30 years, breaks down.
So, we’ve developed a cell therapy facility here, at the Hollings
Cancer Center, that allows us to take bits of the immune system from an
individual patient, manipulate that individual patient’s immune cells in the
laboratory, in a very specialized laboratory that’s been FDA approved for this
purpose, and then expand those cells, or manipulate them, and then give them
back to the patient. These cells have
now been modified so that they’ll kill the patient’s cancer. And we’re actively entering patients in
trials in our cell therapy facility, and that has occurred under my watch over
the last four years.
Dr. Linda Austin: Most
importantly, the researchers of Hollings
understand that cancer is a devastating disease for individuals, families and
communities. And the African-American
community in South Carolina
is especially hard-hit. Hollings researchers
and clinicians target special efforts toward this population.
Dr. Andrew Kraft: Well, I
think we’ve really made an attempt to attack the issue of cancer disparities in
the state of South Carolina. And, again, this was an effort that had begun
prior to my arrival, and I’ve made good effort in expanding the program since
my arrival. I recruited Associate
Director of Cancer Disparities, Dr. Marvella Ford. I charged her with reaching out to
communities and developing a program that would educate people about
preventing, controlling and treating cancer, a program that would dispel myths
about cancer treatment throughout the state of South Carolina. We greatly expanded some of our screening
efforts. We purchased a new mobile van
that allows screening to go to the community, rather than the community coming
to the medical center. This mobile van
is state of the art. It has mammography
on it. This mammography does not involve
film, but occurs electronically, is sent back through the airwaves to the
medical university where grams can be read, no matter where the van sits,
throughout the low country.
information, please go to the Hollings website at www.hcc.musc.edu.