Cancer program uses new technology to personalize treatment

October 23, 2008

Greenville Hospital System and Cancer Centers of the Carolinas first in state to participate in national program

GREENVILLE, S.C. – Greenville Hospital System University Medical Center (GHS) and Cancer Centers of the Carolinas (CCC) could revolutionize the way cancer is treated locally by tapping into an elite national program that uses molecular profiling to create drug therapies personalized to each patient.

“Right now, patients in advanced stages of cancer typically respond to treatment options developed in clinical trials without molecular profiling 30 percent of the time,” said Dr. Jeff Edenfield, a medical oncologist at CCC and principal investigator for the program. “The hope for this program is that by targeting the specific molecular profile of the individual patient, success rate will be vastly improved.”        

GHS and CCC are the first in the state and among only 15 medical centers in the nation chosen to participate in the Total Cancer Care™ program, which is based at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Fla. The two organizations were chosen to participate based on patient volume and experience in more than 120 cancer clinical trials, including several first-in-nation trials.

“We are honored to participate in this program and contribute to the development of a more personalized approach to cancer treatment that could impact thousands of patients nationwide,” said Dr. Edenfield.

Currently, most patients in the United States are treated with standard protocols for their type of cancer (breast, colon, prostate, lung). However, because each tumor is unique, not all of these patients will benefit from the same or similar treatment.

Patients who choose to participate in the Total Cancer Care program will have a portion of their tumor – which would otherwise be discarded – removed and sent to Moffitt’s tissue bank for research such as gene profiling. After the tumor is analyzed, information generated by the analysis is entered in a secured database containing similar information on other patients involved in the program. When a new drug is found to be effective for patients with a similar genetic profile, patients fitting this profile are contactedfor follow-up treatment.

“One of the many benefits of this program is the potential to learn about new treatment options as they become available,” said Dr. Edenfield. “Additionally, many patients diagnosed with cancer may be helped by these discoveries both now and in the future. For example, if a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer today and her breast cancer returns in subsequent years, she may receive new treatments that are directed to her cancer more specifically and, ideally, with fewer side effects.”

“The bottom line is that cancer patients do not have to leave the Upstate or even the state to have access to a personalized cure for their type of cancer,” said Dr. Edenfield. “The answers will come to them, as opposed to them constantly searching for the next trial.”

The Total Cancer Care program will be highlighted at the South Carolina Cancer Alliance meeting at 11 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 24, at the Hyatt Hotel in downtown Greenville. The public is welcome to attend the session, but food will not be provided.

About Greenville Hospital System University Medical Center

Established nearly a century ago, Greenville Hospital System University Medical Center (GHS) is a not-for-profit academic health organization committed to medical excellence through research, education, clinical expertise and technological advancement. GHS is accredited by the Joint Commission of Accreditation of Hospital Organizations (JCAHO). With five campuses and 1,268 licensed beds, it is one of the largest not-for-profit healthcare providers in South Carolina. GHS provides comprehensive healthcare through its flagship tertiary referral and education center (Greenville Memorial Hospital), two acute-care and one long-term care hospital, short-stay surgical hospital, integrated children’s and women’s hospitals, nationally-recognized cottage-concept nursing home, outpatient facilities, wellness centers, community outreach programs and an Upstate-wide multi-specialty physician group. Affiliated with the Medical University of South Carolina, GHS has an extensive medical education program that includes 11 residency programs. GHS currently offers more than 570 clinical trials, including several first-in-nation cancer-treatment trials. To learn more, visit

About H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute

Located in Tampa, Florida, Moffitt Cancer Center is the only Florida-based cancer center with the NCI designation as a Comprehensive Cancer Center for its excellence in research and contributions to clinical trials, prevention and cancer control. Moffitt currently has 15 affiliates in Florida, one in Georgia and two in Puerto Rico. Additionally, Moffitt is a member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, a prestigious alliance of the country’s leading cancer centers, and is listed in U.S. News & World Report as one of “America’s Best Hospitals” for cancer. Moffitt’s sole mission is to contribute to the prevention and cure of cancer.