Like science fiction

CAR-T therapy is a game changer for blood cancer patients, allowing their reprogrammed immune cells to fight the cancer from within.

Read about CAR-T therapy
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Spotlight on Innovation

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Dr. Jason Newman joins Hollings to lead the head and neck cancer team and expand innovative cancer care across the state for all patients.

Read about his vision

Head and neck cancer takes a village

While collaboration is essential to all cancer care, the unique demands of head and neck cancers bring teamwork to an entirely new level. Dr. Newman is joined by a number of new head and neck cancer team members, with expertise ranging from innovative treatment methods and advanced surgical techniques to prognostic biomarkers and survivorship care.

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Bhisham Chera, M.D.

Dr. Chera is a renowned expert in head and neck cancer radiation and has been part of several recent breakthroughs in detection and treatment.

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Greer Albergotti, M.D.

Using a patient-centered approach, Dr. Albergotti looks for ways to better minimize the effects from surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.

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Angela Yoon, D.D.S.

Dr. Yoon studies head and neck cancer biomarkers that could more effectively identify high-risk patients who would benefit from immunotherapy.

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Robert Labadie, M.D., Ph.D.

Previously an engineer, Dr. Labadie brings a different perspective to his role as the new chair of the MUSC Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery.

Making a difference for patients

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Navigating a complex treatment process

A multidisciplinary head and neck cancer team guided Bill Watrous through a complex treatment process that included multiple surgeries.

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The power of immunotherapy

Tim Buikema didn't want to have disfiguring surgery for a large melanoma on his face, so Dr. John Kaczmar recommended an innovative clinical trial instead.

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Featured Innovator

Dr. Peggi Angel invented a new approach to develop 3D maps of collagen structures in order to better understand their role in breast cancer.

Collagen Matrix


Research Snapshots

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New method of targeting mutant RAS provides hope for cancer patients

MUSC Hollings Cancer Center researcher John O’Bryan, Ph.D., and colleagues have demonstrated a new therapeutic way to block a protein that is frequently mutated in cancers. This work, which involves inhibiting the oncogenic protein RAS using small molecules, lays a strong foundation for the development of clinical anti-cancer therapies.

“RAS is one of the most central and critical regulators of cell proliferation, and it is also the most mutated in cancers. Mutated RAS drives the growth of tumors. This makes it an attractive therapeutic target," O'Bryan said.

The RAS family of proteins is mutated in nearly 20% of human tumors; however, there has been little progress in drug development. The challenge is due to how RAS functions. It has “on” and “off” states that are regulated by binding to other molecules called nucleotides. There is also a third state called the nucleotide-free state when it is switching between on and off. However, RAS proteins are in the nucleotide-free state for such short amounts of time that it was previously thought that RAS could not be targeted during this very short-lived state.

O’Bryan’s collaborator, Shohei Koide, Ph.D., from the Perlmutter Cancer Center at New York University, developed the monobody technology that can target nucleotide-free RAS, which has allowed them to understand RAS biochemistry more fully and discover opportunities to disrupt its cancer-promoting activity. “The RAS protein, which was considered undruggable, is in fact able to be targeted by drugs,” said O’Bryan.

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Researchers seek to pinpoint best ways for people to quit smoking, vaping

About 30% of cancer deaths can be traced back to tobacco use. Lung cancer is the third most common cancer in South Carolina, but it isn’t the only cancer associated with tobacco. Cancers of the larynx, mouth, esophagus, throat, bladder, liver, kidney, stomach, pancreas, colon, rectum and cervix can also be caused by tobacco use.

The Hollings program for tobacco research, considered one of the premier programs in the country, includes more than a dozen scientists in six departments across MUSC. The program offers a broad range of tobacco-related research, from laboratory-based studies of product constituents, to clinical trials for cessation, to population surveillance of policy-related trends, to systems-based delivery of care. In the past four years, Hollings researchers have authored 226 publications related to tobacco cessation, vaping and nicotine. The research informs both clinical practice and public policy, especially important in South Carolina, where smoking rates are above the national average, particularly in rural areas.

Hollings shares its research on smoking cessation with health care providers throughout the state. In spring 2022, Hollings launched a tobacco treatment specialist training program to teach evidence-based tobacco cessation approaches to providers. But while smoking is decreasing, vaping is on the rise. Unfortunately, very little research has been done on vaping cessation. Hollings researchers have found that the majority of people who vape want to quit, and they are running pilot studies to test a variety of methods to help people quit vaping.