NCI Designation for the MUSC Hollings Cancer Center

 More information related to this Podcast


NCI Designation for the MUSC Hollings Cancer Center




Guest:  Dr. Andrew Kraft - Hollings Cancer Center (HCC) Director

Host:  Dr. Linda Austin – Psychiatry


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 Cancer Center 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.


For more information, please go to the Hollings website at

Close Window