Self Regional announced today a partnership in genetics research that medical center President and CEO Jim Pfeiffer said will be both an economic windfall for this area and a major advance in cancer and heart disease genetics research — something of paramount importance to the active-living residents of Savannah Lakes Village, McCormick County, and those living throughout the Lakelands and Blueway Regions of South Carolina and Georgia.
The partnership, which has global implications, also includes a $5.6 million commitment by Self Regional to support the initiative. It’s all part of Self’s longtime commitment to bring advanced care closer to home.
The new partnership will establish formal collaboration among genetic researchers and Clemson University faculty at the Greenwood Genetic Center and Self Regional Healthcare, expanding an already successful working relationship.
Self Regional has invested itself in McCormick County and Savannah Lakes Village with the hospital-owned Savannah Lakes Medical Center located in the heart of the Village. The medical center also provides plenty of local outreach in wellness education and home health services to the Village. The impact of this partnership will create an influx of data-collecting and research capabilities in the battle against various diseases that affect residents in our communities, Pfieffer said.
See Shorelines Magazine’s April edition for an SLV/McCormick area-impact story and the specific areas in which the regional referral hospital expects tremendous benefits for Savannah Lakes Village residents.
Pfieffer said this is more than just an area or statewide story of interest, but one with major global implications. Many statewide media members and dignitaries attended today’s press conference at Self’s new cancer center.
For those living in Savannah Lakes and McCormick, this provides new hope in the battle against a number of diseases. For the many property owners living nationwide who are considering moving to SLV, Pfeiffer hopes they will not only see this healthcare advancement as a major selling point for this community as a destination place for relocation, but also will note the hospital’s many accomplishments on a national scale in spine surgery, stroke care, heart care, cancer treatment, patent satisfaction and other areas. He notes how high-quality healthcare is one of the major things people look for when considering where to live.
Self Regional is the largest employer in six counties, with 414 beds and nearly 2,500 employees. The hospital is a six-time Gallup Great Workplace award winner, placing it among the top places to work in the nation, with some of the most engaged healthcare providers.
Self Regional will support the Clemson University Center for Human Genetics with a gift of $5.6 million over three years. The gift consists of an initial contribution of $2 million for the center’s facilities and a subsequent contribution of $3.6 million to support research in genetics and human diagnostics at the facility located on the Greenwood Genetics Center campus.
The center will address research and clinical opportunities in human diagnostics and epigenetic therapeutics, advancing personalized medicine for intellectual and developmental disabilities, autism, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and disorders of the immune and nervous systems. Specific research will include molecular diagnostics and therapeutics, bioinformatics, and computational/systems biology.
Self Regional, as a research and lead healthcare partner, will support hospital-based clinical trials and will collaborate in designated research activities.
“Today’s announcement will create a new pipeline for genetic research,” said John Pillman, chairperson of the Self Regional Board of Trustees. “The collaboration of these three partners will ultimately connect genetic therapeutics research to patients.”
Pfeiffer said the partnership will accelerate the rate of innovation in genetic medicine. “This is what I call a win-win-win scenario,” he said.
Steve Skinner, director of the Greenwood Genetic Center, said such collaborations are crucial in turning research advances into clinically available therapies for patients, not only in this area, but across the state — and globally.
“This collaboration is a major step forward for patients as we combine the resources and strengths of each institution: Self’s commitment to patient care, Clemson’s expertise in basic scientific research, and our expertise with genetic disorders and treatment,” Skinner said.
Self Regional and the Genetic Center have had an affiliation agreement since 1975, with the Genetic Center’s clinical faculty serving as the Department of Medical Genetics for Self Regional.
Clemson University President James P. Clements said the announcement brings us a step closer to moving basic discoveries in human genetics from a research environment to a clinical setting, where they can be used to diagnose and treat genetic-related human disorders.
“Clemson is proud to be part of this important collaborative effort, and we’re grateful to Self Regional Healthcare for its support of our research efforts at the Greenwood Genetic Center,” Clements said.
Clemson’s Steve Kresovich, the Coker Chair in Molecular Genetics, is responsible for overseeing research programs and managing collaborative activities between Clemson faculty and personnel at the partner institutions.
Kresovich said this unique partnership will catalyze the development of a regional research hub for human genetics, clinical activities, and provide unique training opportunities for students.
“Each group brings visions and capabilities that complement each other and will allow for the rapid establishment of truly integrated and trans-disciplinary research teams working on challenging medical problems of importance to many stakeholders in our region,” Kresovich said.
Today’s announcement marks Clemson’s third significant development at the Greenwood Genetic Center. In June 2013, Clemson announced it would build a 17,000-square-foot research and education center in human genetics on nearly 15 acres donated by Greenwood County and the Greenwood Commissioners of Public Works..
The Clemson Center for Human Genetics will expand the college’s genetics programs, create an internationally competitive research and development team, and expand research capabilities at the Greenwood Genetic Center’s J.C. Self Institute.
And, in November, Clemson established the Self Family Foundation Endowed Chair in Human Genetics. Jointly funded by the Self Family Foundation and the State of South Carolina, the endowed chair will advance development of novel therapeutics to treat genetic disorders at a cellular level.