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Press Release
January 18, 2006
Rachael Smitht
(843) 792-7694


Renowned cancer researcher to hold John C. West Endowed Chair at MUSC Hollings Cancer Center

Charleston, SC - Dr. Kenneth D. Tew of the Hollings Cancer Center at Medical University of South Carolina has been appointed the "John C. West Endowed Chair in Cancer Research."

Dr. Kenneth Tew is the professor and chairman of the Department of Cell and Molecular Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. He joined MUSC in the spring of 2004 after moving to Charleston from Philadelphia where he served as chairman of Pharmacology at Fox Chase Center and held the G. Willing Pepper Chair in Cancer Research. Tew also held an adjunct professorship of pharmacology at the University of Pennsylvania.

After finishing his undergraduate degree in microbiology and genetics from the University of Wales at Swansea in 1973, Tew received a doctorate in biochemical pharmacology from London's Institute for Cancer Research (Chester Beatty Cancer Research Institute), where he was awarded the highest degree attainable, a doctor of science in the faculty of sciences. He began his career in the United States as a research associate in medicine and biochemistry at Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C.

Holding three patents and an outstanding publication record that includes well over 100 papers in leading peer-review journals, Dr. Tew has been an asset to Hollings Cancer Center. He has served on the scientific advisory boards of four well-known biotech companies. Recently, he was the proud recipient of an American Cancer Society scientific research award. His labs have made significant contributions in laying the groundwork for the development of several novel chemotherapeutic agents.

"Dr. Tew brings to us his mass knowledge of cancer drug development and biochemical and molecular characterization of cancer drug responses. This appointment recognizes his international reputation in cancer drug development and testing," said Andrew Kraft, M.D., director of Hollings Cancer Center. "He is a valuable resource for Hollings Cancer Center, and his leadership of the department has been vital in securing research funding from private sources."

Kraft also hopes that Tew's endowed chair appointment will help increase the funding needed to continue his cancer drug development research and accelerate Hollings Cancer Center's efforts to achieve designation as a "comprehensive cancer center" by the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

An endowed chair is an elite faculty appointment that carries with it a stable, guaranteed source of funding to support the chair-holder's work. A chair is usually established by a pool of philanthropically provided funds totaling $1 million, which is invested in a professionally managed fund. The principal remains in this fund, generating interest income that is used to attract and support a leading scientist and/or educator. Because only the investment income may be expended, the corpus portion of the endowed chair exists in perpetuity, creating a permanent means of supporting continued progress in a vital field of medical research.

The John C. West Endowed Chair in Cancer Research was established in 2005 in memory of former Governor John Carl West. As a magna cum laude graduate of The Citadel, West served as a lawyer and a major in the United States Army. From 1966-1970, West served as the lieutenant governor of South Carolina. In 1970, he was elected governor of South Carolina. After leaving the governor's office in 1975, West returned to private law practice and served as U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia. He later became a professor of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of South Carolina and, in 1993, joined the law firm of Bethea, Jordan & Griffin in Hilton Head Island.

In 2003, West was diagnosed with liver cancer and became a patient of the Medical University. He died of the disease on March 21, 2004.

Inspired by his friend and former classmate's lifetime of service and his battle with cancer, Senator Fritz Hollings approached West's family with the suggestion of naming an endowed chair in his memory. The family was in full support of the chair, which was previously funded by the South Carolina Research Centers of Economic Excellence Program, and the appointment of Tew.

If you would like to support the John C. West Endowed Chair in Cancer Research or have any questions, please contact the Hollings Cancer Center director of development, Rachael D. Smith at (843) 792-7694 or

Back Row: Dr. Andrew Kraft, Senator Fritz Hollings, Paula Harper Bethea,
Dr. Ken Tew, Dr. Ray Greenberg, Mr. T. Allen Legare Jr.
Front Row: John C. "Jack" West Jr., Mrs. Lois West, Mrs. Shelton West Bosley

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