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Renowned lung cancer expert to lead CoEE

MUSC’s Hollings Cancer Center (HCC) has recruited renowned lung cancer expert George R. Simon, M.D., to lead its Center of Economic Excellence (CoEE) in Tobacco Related Malignancy Research.  
Dr. George Simon

Simon, who served previously as director of the thoracic oncology program at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadephia, will hold The Burtschy Family Distinguished Endowed Chair in Lung Cancer Research within the Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology. Simon also will serve as assistant director for clinical investigations at HCC.
Simon is an expert in thoracic malignancies, with an emphasis on lung cancer and mesothelioma. His research interests include developing personalized treatment platforms for non-small cell lung cancer, novel targeted agents for the treatment of lung cancer and mesothelioma, and glucose metabolism in tumors.
Simon and his team were the first to describe the prognostic significance of nuclear excision repair in patients with early stage lung cancer. He also led the first trial in the country that prescribed individualized treatments to patients with advanced stage lung cancer based on the expression of certain genes found in the patient’s tumor.
These national studies have helped better define these markers and are being tested in multicenter, international trials, said Andrew S. Kraft, M.D., HCC director.
“Lung cancer is the number one cause of cancer-related deaths­—and the second most common cancer—in both men and women in the United States and South Carolina. It is urgent that we continue to improve detection and diagnosis while researching and creating more effective treatment strategies,” Kraft said.
“Dr. Simon’s work holds the potential to change the outlook for lung cancer in our state.”
Harry Drabkin, M.D., chairman of MUSC’s Division of Hematology/Oncology added, “The collaboration that will take place between Dr. Simon and our team will elevate the level of lung cancer research at MUSC, something that stands to benefit South Carolina’s residents as well as our economy. Having him here will allow MUSC to be highly competitive when applying for critical funding for lung cancer research.”
The CoEE in Tobacco-Related Malignancy Research is devoted to discovering biomarkers of tobacco-related malignancies. The initial focus is on lung cancer, but CoEE-related scientists also hope to make advances in other tobacco-related malignancies including head and neck, bladder, and esophageal cancers.
Simon said he wants to make a positive impact in the lives of patients. “Joining MUSC was a very easy decision for me. I hope to bring ideas, expertise and technologies to this state. I also hope to make personalized therapy of lung cancer a reality at MUSC and working with my colleagues to make the thoracic oncology program a premier thoracic program in the country.”

Friday, Sept. 10, 2010

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