Hollings Headlines // August 2022

Cancer nurses honored for their work

a nurse in blue gloves mask and paper gown puts her arm around a man in patient gown sitting on the edge of a bed

The nurses on the HOPE unit care for some of the most vulnerable patients in the hospital – immunocompromised cancer patients who may need to be admitted for weeks at a time before their white blood cell counts return to levels where they can go home. 

Two nurses on the unit – nurse manager Carrie Moore, R.N., and clinical staff leader Sarah Verner, R.N. – exemplify the compassionate, expert care that is provided on this unit. They were recently honored by the South Carolina Nurses Foundation with the Palmetto Gold. 

“It was such an honor to be nominated for the Palmetto Gold and be among the top 100 nurses in South Carolina. I couldn’t be that without the people that surround me every day. I’m very proud of the team and the support that I have here at MUSC, and I’m proud of the care that I provide and ensure that is happening on this unit,” Moore said. 

Read about our nurses' work

Palmetto Gold honorees

a nurse leans over a woman in a hospital bed

"I love oncology. It's my heart," said Sarah Verner, R.N.

Because cancer patients often have multiple admissions and longer stays, the nurses develop deep bonds with them, said Verner and Carrie Moore, R.N.

Watch Carrie Moore and Sarah Verner at work

Developing targeted therapies for pancreatic cancer

 a man in a button down shirt sits at a lab bench and smiles at the camera

Nearly all pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma patients have a mutation on the KRAS gene. But these mutations are different, and Hollings researcher Aaron Hobbs, Ph.D., found that one variation of the mutation causes cancer cells to behave differently and to be more sensitive to some drugs.

With the help of a career development award from the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, he's trying to get some answers about why this is so. 

“This project takes a cell biology question, why are these cells more sensitive, and turns it into something immediately translatable for PDAC patients. Understanding the biological effects of the KRAS G12R mutation may illuminate therapeutic opportunities or show other weaknesses of PDAC cells that may be druggable,” he said. 

Read about the research

Post and Courier

"We know right now this is not an easy battle, but we want to try to give each person their best shot at it," MUSC Hollings Cancer Center researcher Aaron Hobbs told The Post and Courier. 

Read the story

Post and Courier photo looking up at a man swinging a golf club

Funding promising research

a large group of people poses for a photo with the ones in front holding a large banner that says Swim Across America

Hollings Cancer Center was delighted to welcome Swim Across America - Charleston-Kiawah. This organization has raised $200,000 for cancer research in the last five years! 

They fund small, high-risk projects in early stages. This kind of funding is critical, because it allows scientists to investigate new avenues and potentially generate the preliminary results that will convince large funders, like the National Institutes of Health, to invest in the research. 

Earlier this month, they were on campus to hear from this year's awardee, Dr. Paramita Chakraborty, who is investigating whether low doses of carbon monoxide can improve T-cells' anti-tumor action. 

Read about this research

Hollings Cross Talk

graphic with date and time of streaming and photo of a smiling doctor sitting with a child at a play table

The number of new drugs specifically for pediatric cancer can be counted on one hand – yet so much progress has been made in treating children's cancer in the last few decades! Since the mid-70s, five-year survival rates have gone from 58% of patients to 85% of patients. 

Dr. Michelle Hudspeth joins Hollings director Dr. Raymond N. DuBois to talk about the highs and lows of treating children with cancer. 

Watch at 6 p.m. Thursday on our Facebook page, or catch the episode afterward on Facebook, YouTube, or our website

Riding ambassadors

New city, new school – new cancer diagnosis

Bridget Horgan was in her first semester at the MUSC College of Health Professions when she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer

Now, she's one-year cancer-free and leading a team of riders for LOWVELO 2022

“I ride in LOWVELO for those who have already lost their battles to cancer, those who are still fighting and for those who haven't even received a diagnosis yet,” she said. “I hope that the money that we raise is going to go toward some incredible research here at Hollings and that this event can kind of spark a change so that one day getting a diagnosis won't be as scary.”

LOWVELO is looking for ambassadors – people who will start a team, recruit riders and spread the word about this ride for cancer research. 

Interested? Email Jaclyn Summers for more information. 

Read why Bridget rides

Hollings in the news

photo of a woman in lab coat

Managed Healthcare Executive

Sophie Paczesny, M.D., Ph.D.,discusses how biomarkers could help doctors in managing graft-versus-host disease. 

Managed Healthcare Executive
photo of woman in lab coat sitting at bench in lab

Science Daily

Jezabel R. Blanco, Ph.D., has identified a target that in preclinical trials makes medulloblastoma tumors smaller and weaker.

Science Daily
a man and woman post in front of buffet line

The Post and Courier

Walterboro patient spreads goodwill with luncheon for Hollings' staff.

Post and Courier
exterior of Hollings Cancer Center


Lexington Medical Center is partnering with MUSC Hollings Cancer Center to further cancer treatment research.

Download the new HCC clinical trials mobile app
A new mobile app enabling a search for currently active clinical trials is now available for download to iOS and Android phones.

Just go to your device's App Store (Apple) or Play Store (Android) and search for "Hollings Clinical Trials."

Alternately, you can go directly to these links:

Once installed, the app enables trial searches by disease type, modality and more, with a link to the study's NCT page, plus study documents which can be downloaded to your device.
MUSC Hollings Cancer Center on SC Public Radio

On Health Focus, Bobbi Conner talks to MUSC Hollings Cancer Center nurse navigator Denise Kepecs about actions to reduce the chance of breast cancer returning and to Dr. Marvella Ford about increasing the rates of HPV vaccination in South Carolina. 

Listen for the segments on air or go to southcarolinapublicradio.org/show/health-focus.

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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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