Hollings awards funding to encourage innovative research

May 07, 2018
Cancer research
Hollings Cancer Center attracts top physicians, faculty and students from across the country.

Hollings Cancer Center (HCC) announced numerous awards to students, postdoctoral trainees and faculty conducting cancer-related research and clinical investigations. In the past several months, HCC at the Medical University of South Carolina has added a number of new awards to its intramural funding portfolio to encourage innovative research ideas, stimulate collaboration among clinicians and researchers and promote translational research from the laboratory to patient care practices.

American Cancer Society Institutional Research Grant

The American Cancer Society Institutional Research Grant (ACS IRG), which is awarded to HCC, enables the center to provide pilot research funding to promising new cancer investigators. Pilot funds allow investigators to develop preliminary data required to compete for national, peer-reviewed funding. Since 2011, this mechanism has funded more than over 40 cancer researchers.

2018 ACS IRG awardees include:

  • Peggi Angel, Ph.D., assistant professor of Cell & Molecular Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
     “2D typing of collagen stroma as novel tissue markers for ER-negative/ER-positive breast cancer” 
  • Ephraim Abrokwa Ansa-Addo, Ph.D., assistant professor of Microbiology & Immunology
    “Novel functions of moesin as an intracellular inhibitory immune checkpoint in cancer immunity”
  • Evan Graboyes, M.D., assistant professor of Medicine, Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery
    “Body image disturbance in surgically-managed head and neck cancer survivors and the effect of cognitive behavioral therapy”
  • Antonis Kourtidis, Ph.D., assistant professor of Regenerative Medicine & Cell Biology
    “The adherens junctions suppress aberrant colon cell behavior via long non-coding RNAs”
  • Je-Hyun Yoon, Ph.D., assistant professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
    “Glycolytic enzymes scaffold of long non-coding RNA NEAT1 in breast cancer suppression”
  • David Cachia, M.D., assistant professor of Neurosurgery
    “CDK4/6 inhibitor treatment for malignant meningiomas and radiation-induced meningiomas”
  • Wei Jiang, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of Microbiology & Immunology
    “The role of systemic microbial translocation and microbiome in racial differences in prostate cancer”

HCC Intramural Awards

Recipients of the the first Idea, Team Science, and Pre-Clinical & Clinical Concepts awards receieved funding earlier this year.

The Idea Award supports the development of high-quality, innovative cancer research that has the potential to garner national funding. Funded projects are lead by physician scientist E. Ramsey Camp, M.D., and cancer researcher Je-Hyun Yoon, Ph.D. Camp, an associate professor of Surgery, is developing personalized immunotherapies in rectal cancer patients using patient-derived xenografts. Yoon’s research explores the role of glycolytic senescence in tumor suppression. Yoon is an assistant professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Team science serves as a critical component of HCC’s funding pipeline and ongoing research initiatives. Collaboration between basic scientists, clinical researchers and physicians remains at the forefront of improving patient care through the support of translational science. The Team Science Award supports multi-study research projects with three or more investigators. HCC’s first Team Science Awards are awarded to Chrystal Paulos, Ph.D., an associate professor of Microbiology & Immunology and Matthew Carpenter, Ph.D., a professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.

Paulos’ research explores novel immunotherapies for lung cancer patients. Additional sub-projects to support the award include therapies using GARP, a protein believed to contribute to immuno-suppressive effects of T cells (led by Zihai Li, Ph.D.) and oncolytic virotherapy (led by Eric Bartee, Ph.D.). The final component of the project includes a clinical trial using combinational immunotherapy with two promising drugs for non-small cell lung cancer. The trial is overseen by cancer immunologist Mark Rubinstein, Ph.D., and medical oncologist, John Wrangle, M.D.

Carpenter leads a study exploring self-regulation in tobacco use. Carpenter is a leading expert in tobacco prevention and control and co-leader of the Cancer Control Research Program at HCC. Joined by Brett Froeliger, Ph.D., Michael Saladin, Ph.D., and Kevin Gray, M.D. of MUSC, the team will use their expertise in basic, clinical and population sciences to identify and address smokers’ ability to monitor and control tobacco use.

The Pre-Clinical & Clinical Concepts Award allows for the development of pre-clinical and approved clinical trial concepts based on research discoveries made at HCC. Clinical trials help identify safe and effective ways to prevent and treat cancer, providing participating patients with access to some of the most advanced treatments available. Mark Rubinstein, Ph.D., received the first Pre-Clinical & Clinical Concepts Award to assess a combinational treatment for non-small cell lung cancer patients using nivolumab, an FDA-approved checkpoint inhibitor, and ALT-803.

Ongoing funding opportunities at HCC continue to support all levels of cancer research and clinical care. View all intramural funding opportunities online. Questions regarding any of these awards should be directed to Laura Arecco.