(WCSC) CHARLESTON SC - The MUSC Hollings Cancer Center is now a National Cancer Institute, a distinction held by only 63 other cancer centers in the U.S.
Dr. Andrew Kraft applied for the designation and says it took years to make it happen, and 6 criteria that had to be met.
"A physical building, support for a university, number of patients on clinical trials, number of research studies published, and number of members", Kraft said.
Not only did they succeed, they did it faster than any other hospital and with a better score. "We're not last in something, we're the first in something, that's important", Congressman Henry Brown said. That's very important considering the thousands of new cases diagnosed each year in South Carolina.
Now those patients won't have to fly to Houston or anywhere else to get the treatments they need. The designation also means money. "It means more research money, 55 to 69 million dollars of economic activity, and research money from Washington coming to South Carolina", Senator Lindsey Graham said.
It also means being able to attract top researchers , doctors, new clinical trials, drugs and treatments.
Kraft ays these benefits will reach beyond the Hollings Cancer Center here in Charleston, to its collaberative centers throughout the state, in Florence, Orangeburg, Columbia, and Spartanburg.
"In terms of the war on cancer, in South Carolina we won a battle today", Graham said.