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MUSC Dedicates New Bioengineering and Drug Discovery Hubs

CHARLESTON, S.C., Oct. 21, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Federal, state and local dignitaries ushered in a new chapter in South Carolina's growing biomedical research effort with the dedication of a laboratory complex designed to speed up cures and treatments for major diseases.

The complex, housing 78 labs and other facilities, signifies a break from the traditional research approach by combining scientists from different fields and allowing them to communicate more effectively. The two buildings – one for bioengineering and one for drug discovery – are interconnected, as are the labs within them. By combining experts from different disciplines in modern facilities with easier access, MUSC hopes to take the science as quickly as possible from the lab to the patient's bedside with improved treatments, medications and medical devices. Cancer, Alzheimer's disease and heart disorders are just some of the medical problems scientists will study in the new complex.

The complex was named after U.S. Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-SC) for his long-standing efforts to correct health disparities in South Carolina and for his support of biomedical research. "My commitment to addressing inequities in our health care system has been a lifelong passion, and it is an important mission here at MUSC. This state-of-the-art research center is evidence of this university's commitment to improving and advancing the delivery of health care, and I am proud to be a part of it," Clyburn said.

Within the center, investigators from numerous MUSC departments share space with scientists, faculty and students from Clemson University and the University of South Carolina. Large auditoria and teleconferencing technologies allow face-to-face interaction with investigators around the world. The center also will promote more partnerships with private industry to help speed up technology transfer and intellectual property commercialization. It will house at least eight of the state-supported SmartState Center of Economic Excellence Endowed Chairs who were recruited to help drive the knowledge-based economy of the state.  The state also played a critical role in funding the construction of the buildings, with half of the cost paid through the Research University Infrastructure Act passed by the S. C. General Assembly in 2004.

"The discoveries coming out of these buildings will enable us to diagnose problems earlier and treat them more effectively, and also will help us to address health disparities that exist in our state. Our hope is that this research center will result in a stronger and more vibrant biomedical community in Charleston and South Carolina," said MUSC President Ray Greenberg.  "If you want to know what our strategic plan for addressing the health needs of this state looks like, just take a look at what will be happening in these two buildings."

SOURCE Medical University of South Carolina
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