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Cancer Biology Research Program

The Cancer Biology Research Program at MUSC Hollings Cancer Center focuses on identifying and characterizing genetic and epigenetic alterations that affect cancer. The driving rationale is that identified gene-RNA-protein networks and pathways represent potential targets for diagnostics, prognostics, and therapeutic interventions. The overall goals of this program are to show how these alterations in tumor cells and their microenvironment impact signaling and growth characteristics of tumors and to support development and validation of preventive and therapeutic strategies to treat cancer.

These goals are realized through a multi-level approach that includes monthly program meetings, program-specific seminars, transdisciplinary research teams, intramural funding and training opportunities, investments in existing and new shared resources, and targeted recruitment of faculty. The Cancer Biology Research Program membership consists of 30 basic and clinical scientists drawn from 11 departments distributed across the colleges of Medicine and Dental Medicine at MUSC.

The overall themes of the program focus on:

  • Cancer genomics and genetics: To identify driver genomic alterations and elucidate how they contribute to tumor development and progression.
  • Molecular regulation of gene expression: To determine the transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulatory mechanisms mediating malignancy, including gene expression; RNA stability, processing, and translation; and non-coding RNAs.
  • The tumor micro- and macro-environment: To elucidate cell-to-cell communication and extracellular factors in the tumor micro- and macro-environment that drive tumor progression.

Program Leader

Philip H. Howe 

Philip H. Howe, Ph.D.

Professor and Chair of
Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
College of Medicine

Academic Focus: Cytokine signaling in cancer; Cancer stem cells

Featured Research

Dr. Nancy Klauber-DeMore in her lab

Innovative research laid the foundation for the development of the first potential new osteosarcoma treatment in over 30 years.