Vicky Agnew
Director, Strategic Communications
Hollings Cancer Center

Aug. 24, 2010

Renowned lung cancer researcher coming to Hollings

Simon to hold Burtschy Family Distinguished Endowed Chair

CHARLESTON -- The Hollings Cancer Center at the Medical University of South Carolina has recruited renowned lung cancer expert George R. Simon, MD, to lead its Center of Economic Excellence (CoEE) in Tobacco Related Malignancy Research. Simon, who served previously as director of the thoracic oncology program at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadephia, PA, 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 Hollings.

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 patientís tumor.

These national studies have helped better define these markers and are now being tested in multicenter, international trials, said Andrew S. Kraft, MD, director of the Hollings Cancer Center.

"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. Simonís work holds the potential to change the outlook for lung cancer in our state."

Harry Drabkin, MD, chairman of MUSCís 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 Carolinaís 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.

"I wanted to join an institution where excellence is valued, where there is opportunity to work with distinguished and accomplished faculty that have congruent goals and single-mindedness of purpose, and where I could make a positive impact in the lives of patients," Simon said. "MUSC has all of this and 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 at MUSC a premier thoracic program in the country."

About Hollings Cancer Center at MUSC

Hollings Cancer Center at the Medical University of South Carolina is a National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center and the largest academic-based cancer program in South Carolina. The cancer center has more than $35M in cancer research funding and more than 1,000 people are currently participating on a cancer clinical trial at Hollings Cancer Center. Hollings Cancer Center offers state-of-the-art diagnostic capabilities, therapies and surgical techniques and has multidisciplinary clinics that involve surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation therapists, radiologists, pathologists, psychologists and many other specialists seeing patients under one roof. Multidisciplinary care is provided in disease specific clinics such as thoracic, breast, head & neck, genitourinary, gastrointestinal, hematological, and pediatric cancers. For more information, please visit:

About MUSC

Founded in 1824 in Charleston, The Medical University of South Carolina is the oldest medical school in the South. Today, MUSC continues the tradition of excellence in education, research, and patient care. MUSC educates and trains more than 3,000 students and residents, and has nearly 11,000 employees, including 1,500 faculty members. As the largest non-federal employer in Charleston, the university and its affiliates have collective annual budgets in excess of $1.7 billion. MUSC operates a 750-bed medical center, which includes a nationally recognized Children's Hospital, the Ashley River Tower (cardiovascular, digestive disease, and surgical oncology), and a leading Institute of Psychiatry. For more information on academic information or clinical services, visit or