Hollings Headlines // January 2022
Recognizing Cervical Cancer Awareness Month
Inspiring the next generation of health care workers

Mikiko Dollard always dreamed of seeing her daughter graduate from college. That's now possible thanks to her successful treatment for cervical cancer at Hollings. Her daughter, Mya, will graduate from The Citadel in May and now wants to become an oncology nurse.

"I had always wanted to be a nurse, but my mom's diagnosis really changed my focus to want to become an oncology nurse," Mya said. "I saw the support and care that nurses at Hollings provided her, and I wanted to be that for someone in their life."
“I always try to make a positive impact on my patients, including Mikiko Dollard. It means a lot to me to see Mya want to become a health care provider so that she can be that support system and make that difference for someone else."

Jerlinda Ross, M.D.
Hollings gynecologic oncologist
Advancing cervical cancer treatment

Cervical cancer patients have more effective treatments than ever, thanks in large part to recent breakthroughs in clinical trials. Brian Orr, M.D., a Hollings researcher and gynecologic oncologist, is optimistic about the ongoing and upcoming clinical trials being offered at Hollings.

"With so many new treatments and clinical trials ongoing, it's important to come to a place like Hollings where we can provide patients access to these cutting-edge therapies and trials."
Serving underserved communities
“To make this project work, we have to show these patients that there will be benefits coming back to them. A big part of that is using these samples to lead to clinical trials that specifically impact these medically underserved communities to save more lives and reduce the burden of cancer.”

Steven Carroll, M.D., Ph.D.
Hollings biorepository director
Hollings Research Spotlight
Improving graft-versus-host-disease treatments
A Hollings researcher known for expertise in graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) secured a $628,188 grant from the National Cancer Institute to improve treatment strategies. Sophie Paczesny, M.D., Ph.D., said GVHD affects roughly 30% of patients who survive more than 100 days after receiving a bone marrow transplant.

"Despite modern advances, up to 50% of bone marrow transplant patients still develop chronic GVHD. We cure leukemia but give the patient another disease," Paczesny said. "Currently, there are no validated laboratory tests to determine which patients are more likely to develop chronic GVHD. This grant is designed to address a major challenge in the treatment of chronic GVHD, since validated biomarkers improve doctors’ ability to personalize treatments.
Congrats to these four Hollings researchers!

Each of these researchers are the recipient of a $35,000 American Cancer Society Institutional Research grant.
Caitlin Allen, Ph.D.
Hollings researcher and assistant professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences

“KEEP IT (Keeping Each Other Engaged via IT): An Innovative Digital Literacy Training Program for Community Health Workers about Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer among Black Women”
Leonardo Ferreira, Ph.D.
Hollings researcher and assistant professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology

“Repurposing Regulatory T-Cells for Cancer Control Using Chimeric Antigen Receptors”
Natalie Saini, Ph.D.
Hollings researcher and assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

“Understanding the Role of Persistent Inflammation in Driving Carcinogenesis”
Tracy Smith, Ph.D.
Hollings researcher and assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

“E-cigarettes as Harm Reduction Tools in Smokers who Fail to Quit with Traditional Methods”
Clinical Trialist Training Program

The Clinical Trialist Training Program (CTTP), a collaboration between the SCTR Institute, the College of Medicine and Hollings Cancer Center, is a joint effort to enhance our clinical trials efforts. The CTTP is a funding opportunity for COM faculty for one year of training to become site investigators for multi-center clinical trials that augment departments’ research portfolios. CTTP participants will receive 10% salary support for this training. Deadline: Feb. 15.

Note: Eligibility requirements have been updated to include faculty on temporary visas if they have a long-term plan to stay at MUSC. Please see the RFA for details.
T32 Postdoctoral Fellow in Oncogenic Signaling

Funded by a Ruth Kirschtein National Research Service T32 Award from NCI, the Integrated Training in Oncogenic Signaling (ITOS) Fellowship aims to train competitive postdoctoral fellows as part of the next generation of cancer researchers. The fellowship offers outstanding research exposure, academic development, and professional opportunities. Fellows can be supported in the Program for two years.

Fellows receive:

  • Outstanding research and academic environment
  • Career development and grantsmanship
  • Exposure to variety of biological systems, approaches, and technologies in the study and translation of basic cellular processes involved in the development of cancer
  • Access to the most modern types of high-resolution imaging, advanced microscopy, genome-level profiling, proteomics, gene manipulation, and cell tracking
  • Exposure to systems biology and bioinformatics
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Hollings publications and featured trials
Explore some of our featured trials being offered at Hollings.

Check out the latest publications from doctors and researchers at Hollings.
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