We want you to join our team! As a faculty member of Augusta University and the Georgia
Cancer Center, you are part of more than an institution. You are part of building
the future for cancer care and translational research.
To reduce the burden of cancer in the State of Georgia and across the globe through
superior care, innovation, and education.
To be a global leader in cancer clinical care, discovery, innovation, translational
research, professional education, and public awareness.
Our freestanding clinical and research buildings continue to collaborate toward a
patient-centered approach utilizing first-in-the-nation treatment protocols, an experimental
therapeutics program, and specialized clinics for state-of-the-art drug and immunotherapy
clinical trials. Our basic and translational research is supported by the National
Institutes of Health-National Cancer Institute and includes our state’s only minority-focused
research program. Education is also an essential part of our mission as we train the
next generation of physicians and scientists to continue the work we have begun. As
of December 2021, the Georgia Cancer Center includes 78 faculty members with a funding
portfolio of $83,557,502. This includes multiple National Institutes of Health-funded
grants totaling $8,599,119. Also, in 2021, Georgia Cancer Center clinical and laboratory
faculty published more than 220 publications.
With strong state support, we have been able to invest substantially in developing
the physical structure of the Cancer Center. In 2006, a $54 million, 151,000-square-foot
research building was erected to house Cancer Center scientific laboratories, shared
facilities, and administration. In 2010, a $31 million, 64,000-square-foot adult cancer
clinical facility opened, providing comprehensive outpatient oncology services and
housing a dedicated clinical trials unit. In early 2012, the two units merged to become
the Georgia Cancer Center, with members recruited from colleges, departments, and
institutes at Augusta University and from top cancer centers across the country. In
2018, we completed a 78,000-square-foot expansion project that will not only add much-needed
research and clinical space, but will also quite literally bridge the gap between
the Cancer Center’s clinical and research missions. This $62.5 million project includes
a five-story addition to the existing research building and a three-story “bridge”
building connecting the research and clinical facilities, designed to foster further
collaboration and communication. These recent large investments are setting the foundation
for the Georgia Cancer Center to take its next major step in advancing cancer research,
clinical care, and education as a destination cancer center.
Georgia Cancer Center at a Glance
Research at the Georgia Cancer Center continues to focus on the most promising pathways
for the prevention and treatment of cancer. Our labs include 57 research faculty with
a funding portfolio of $16,249,929. This includes 21 NCI-funded grants totaling $7,987,143.
Our active scientists have also increased their number of publications (including
original research, books, and reviews) by nearly 50 percent over the last five years.
Cancer Immunology, Inflammation & Tolerance
The goals of the Cancer Immunology, Inflammation & Tolerance program are to study
how the immune system can recognize alterations caused by malignant transformation,
examine those immune inflammatory processes that cause cancer, and develop immune-based
strategies to prevent and treat cancer. A major impetus of all CIT members is to translate
knowledge acquired from basic research into the clinical setting.
Molecular Oncology & Biomarkers
The goal of the Molecular Oncology & Biomarkers program is to understand the fundamental
cellular and molecular processes that contribute to cancer development and progression.
This can be divided into three broad themes:
- Genetics and epigenetics of cancer development and progression;
- Cell stress and metabolism; and
- Cancer cell metastasis.
Collectively, these themes address important topics of tumor cell and molecular biology.
Tumor Signaling and Angiogenesis
The unifying theme of the Tumor Signaling & Angiogenesis program is to build translational
clinical trials based on innovative and novel research projects that focus on signaling
cascades leading to uncontrolled cell growth and resistance to apoptosis. The program
goal is to identify dysregulated molecular signaling pathways that can be used as
Cancer Prevention, Control, and Population Health
The Georgia Cancer Center is building a focus in cancer prevention through the Cancer
Prevention & Control program. The program goal is to bring cancer prevention efforts
to medically underserved regions of the state of Georgia that show significant disparity
in outcomes in minority populations. Current focuses include chemodietary prevention,
the relationship between HPV and cervical cancer, lung cancer, tobacco cessation,
breast cancer, and colorectal cancer.
The Georgia Cancer Center houses a dedicated cancer clinical research unit that oversees
the center’s own Phase I-IV trials and manages studies from throughout the medical
center offered in conjunction with oncology departments such as radiology and gynecologic
oncology. It also manages Georgia’s only minority-focused research program (NCORP).
Augusta University resources that support clinical trial efforts include:
- A local Institutional Review Board, dedicated to cancer research (IRB-C)
- A dedicated clinical research pharmacy
- OnCore, the institution-wide electronic Clinical Research Management system
At a Glance:
- 75 open or pending clinical trials, including both interventional (treatment) and
observational (non-treatment) trials for both adults and children
- 11 different disease oriented working groups, including:
- Phase I/Immunotherapy
- Gynecologic Oncology
- Hematologic Oncology/Bone Marrow Transplant
- Cancer Control/Cancer Prevention
- 25-plus dedicated clinical trial staff
- Nurse practitioners
- Nurse coordinators
- Data coordinators
- Financial coordinators
- Regulatory coordinators
- Lab/biospecimen technicians
Minority-Focused Research Program (NCORP)
The Georgia Cancer Center has been awarded a grant from the National Cancer Institute
to lead the state’s only cancer research program focused on better access to clinical
trials and cancer treatments for minority and underserved patients. The Georgia Cancer
Center is just one of 12 sites selected nationally.
As part of the NCI Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP) network, the Georgia
Cancer Center-led consortium:
- Designs and conducts cancer prevention, supportive care and symptom management, screening,
and surveillance clinical trials;
- Designs and supports health-related quality of life studies for patients on treatment
- Designs and conducts cancer care delivery research (CCDR) studies;
- Participates in treatment and imaging clinical trials conducted by the NCI National
Clinical Trials Network (NCTN); and
- Integrates health disparities research questions into NCORP studies.
Our partners include Morehouse School of Medicine, University Cancer & Blood Center,
DeKalb Medical, the Cancer Center at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, and the Jiann-Ping
Hsu College of Public Health at Georgia Southern University.
By partnering with other institutions around the state, we aim to increase awareness
of and participation in NCI-sponsored clinical trials and cancer care delivery research
throughout Georgia, in order to address the historic barriers that have stood in the
way of minority and underserved patients participating in clinical trials and other
important cancer research.
The Georgia Cancer Center is advancing public, patient, and professional education
and cancer-related training throughout the enterprise and in the community it serves
in several important ways.
Working in conjunction with the Office of Cancer Information and Awareness, the Office
of Education assists in community education by providing content experts who have
received training in communicating science to the public. These ambassadors, who include
student trainees, research and clinical fellows, as well as staff and faculty, have
a passion for sharing their knowledge with the next generation of scientists and physicians,
while simultaneously informing the community about the many exciting research projects
and opportunities ongoing at the Georgia Cancer Center.
The Office of Education also has taken on the responsibility of updating physicians
at the Medical College of Georgia, as well as in our community, in the fast-paced
field of oncology clinical trials research. One aspect of our professional education
programming has been provided through Augusta University’s Continuing Medical Education
(CME)-accredited lecture series that brings in field leaders to share forefront knowledge
with Cancer Center faculty as well as with community physicians. In addition, collaborative
workshops and retreats have been hosted by the Georgia Cancer Center to support the
exchange of professional ideas, to educate community physicians regarding recent advances
in the field, and to foster collaborations with other regional entities (e.g., UGA
Next Generation of Scientists and Researchers
The Georgia Cancer Center strives to advance the field by training the next generation
of physicians and scientists in oncology. The Cancer Center is an active participant
in Augusta University training programs, from graduate programs to postdoctoral training
in both research and clinical care.
PhD Program in Biochemistry and Cancer Biology
The PhD program in biochemistry and cancer biology (BCB) program offers some of the
best technological facilities in the world and the innovative training needed to make
significant contributions to this important field of discovery. BCB is committed to
expanding students’ horizons and nurtures their potential as the next generation of
BCB is the largest biomedical sciences program. The program is supported by senior
leadership from Dr. Vinata Lokeshwar, the chair of the department of Biochemistry
and Molecular Biology, and Dr. John Cowell, Interim Director of the Georgia Cancer
Center. The program directors interact regularly with the College of Graduate Studies
and with a faculty BCB steering committee to design curriculum and student assessment.
Both tracks work as a team to ensure that the students receive training in bench-to-bedside
research with a solid foundation in basic/translational research, while also enjoying
a wholesome graduate education experience.
PhD Program in Molecular Medicine
The Molecular Medicine (MolMed) Graduate Program combines the resources of basic science
and translational medical research and emphasizes the molecular processes underlying
human diseases and explores the potentials of translating basic studies at molecular
level into novel disease treatment approaches.
The MolMed Graduate Program is designed to prepare students for careers in basic and
translational biomedical research in academic environment as well as industries. It
requires approximately five years of full-time study, including course work, examinations,
and dissertation research. All students complete a PhD dissertation based on original
The Georgia Cancer Center is supporting 22 postdoctoral fellows in research. The program
is also funded by two R01 supplements from NCI and NHLBI for the training of future
Along with training medical students and residents, the Georgia Cancer Center supports
the training of clinical fellows with a specific interest in cancer. In hematology/oncology,
we support 10 fellows, including three first-year, five second-year and two third-year
fellows. The GCC also supports one fellow in the first and only fellowship in gynecologic
oncology in Georgia and South Carolina.
The Department of Defense has awarded Avirup Guha, MBBS, with a $1.1 million budget over the course of four years for his study.
This is the first study to try to standardize the way we need to investigate these structural changes in hematologic malignancies.
Researchers need to see the whole picture to prolong kidney survival.
Days of Service, Augusta University’s annual community service project, takes place each November. This year, more than 1,100 volunteers registered to participate and help out with community service projects.
Reducing the Burden
The Georgia Cancer Center at Augusta University is dedicated to reducing the burden
of cancer in Georgia and across the globe through superior care, innovation, and education.
Through unprecedented expansion, the Georgia Cancer Center is providing access to
more first-in-the-nation clinical trials, world-renowned experts and life-saving options.