MUSC Hollings Cancer Center

Hollings in the Headlines

Medical University of South Carolina Names Oncology Surgeon and Researcher as Next President

Charleston, S.C. – The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) Board of Trustees has named David J. Cole, M.D., oncology surgeon and researcher at MUSC’s Hollings Cancer Center, president of the university and its affiliated medical centers. Board members made the announcement after a special meeting April 17.

Along with his research and clinical roles with Hollings Cancer Center, Cole currently serves MUSC as president of MUSC Physicians and as chairman of the Department of Surgery.

“It’s exciting to have a long-time cancer specialist and researcher stepping into the role of president at MUSC,” said Andrew S. Kraft, M.D., director of the Hollings Cancer Center at MUSC. “I’ve worked with Dr. Cole for many years and have great admiration for his skills as a surgeon, researcher, and leader.  I believe this combination will serve MUSC well and keep cancer research and treatment at the forefront of the university’s mission.”

Cole earned his medical degree from Cornell University Medical College in Maryland and completed his residency training in general surgery at Emory University. After residency, Cole completed a surgical oncology fellowship at the National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute Surgery Branch in Bethesda, Maryland. In 1994, Cole became an assistant professor in the MUSC College of Medicine and has served in a variety of faculty and leadership positions at MUSC since then, earning tenure in 2001. His awards, board appointments, editorial positions, committee and society participation and research successes are numerous.

Cole was selected from more than 50 applicants in the nearly year-long, nationwide search for new leadership. Ray Greenberg, M.D., Ph.D. stepped down from the presidency last August to take a leadership position with the University of Texas Health System in Austin.

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 13,000 employees, including approximately 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), Hollings Cancer Center (one of 68 National Cancer Institute designated centers), Level I Trauma Center and Institute of Psychiatry.

Researchers from Hollings Cancer Center Participate in New Advice for E-cigarette Use by Cancer Patients

The International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC), the largest international organization associated with lung cancer diagnosis and management, recently issued recommendations that clinicians can use to help discuss e-cigarette use with cancer patients. 

“This is the first discussion of e-cigarette use from any large cancer organization,” said Dr. Michael Cummings, Chair of the Tobacco Control Committee for IASLC and leading author for the report.  “These consensus guidelines represent a summary of the best current evidence that clinicians can use in practice.  However, there is currently very little evidence supporting or refuting the use of e-cigarettes by cancer patients.  There are no clear data that e-cigarettes are better than proven smoking cessation strategies and health effects of e-cigarettes are currently unknown.” 

“These guidelines are desperately needed,” said Dr. Graham Warren, Vice Chairman for Research in Radiation Oncology, Director of the Hollings Cancer Center Tobacco Cessation Program, and co-author on the report.  “Though we do not have strong evidence either way for e-cigarettes, we are faced with a high percentage of cancer patients who either use or are requesting to use e-cigarettes instead of smoking.  It may be years before we have sufficient evidence about the effects of e-cigarettes, but clinicians need some form of guidance now.”  According to the report, clinicians should advise patients who smoke to use evidence-based tobacco cessation methods such as behavioral counseling and medications.  Regarding the use of e-cigarettes in cancer patients, “… the IASLC advises against recommending their use at this time.” 

“The harmful effects of smoking by cancer patients were confirmed in the 2014 Surgeon General’s Report, and are not in question,” added Dr. Cummings.  “Additional work is needed to understand the effects of e-cigarettes, but cancer patients should absolutely avoid smoking.”  The report titled “E-Cigarettes and Cancer Patients” is published in the April edition of the Journal of Thoracic Oncology.  Additional information on the harmful effects of smoking by cancer patients can be found in the publicly available 2014 Surgeon General’s Report “The health consequences of smoking – 50 years of progress.”

1. Cummings KM, Dresler CM, Field JK, Fox J, Gritz ER, Hanna N, Ikeda N, Jassem J, Mulshine J, Peters M, Yamaguchi N, Warren G, Zho C.  E-cigarettes and Cancer Patients.  J Thorac Oncol 9:438-441, 2014.
2. The health consequences of smoking – 50 years of progress: a report of the Surgeon General. – Atlanta, GA. : U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2014.


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