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Columbia, SC (WLTX) - The University of South Carolina has won a $11.3 million federal grant that will go to help find the next generation of drugs to treat disease from diabetes to cancer.

USC received the grant from the National Institute of Health's Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence. The money will be used to create the Center for Targeted Therapeutics, a research center at the school's College of Pharmacy.

The center, according to USC, will be tasked with the following goals:

  • Work toward creating new drugs that target the underlying causes of diseases on a molecular level without the adverse side effects common to traditional pharmaceuticals;
  • provide mentorship by senior scientists to junior faculty.
  • recruit at least six new top-tier junior faculty with a wide range of scientific expertise;
  • provide competitive pilot grants to encourage interdisciplinary collaboration across research fields.

USC Pharmacy Professor Igor Roninson has been tapped to lead the center. Their first projects will be to look for ways to combat cancer and neurological diseases.

"The big pharmaceutical companies are not doing the type of research we can do in a university setting," Roninson said in a statement released by the school. "This grant is recognition that the most promising pharmaceuticals—ones that provide more effective approaches to hard-to-treat diseases—are now being discovered in academic labs through multidisciplinary collaborations, before they are picked up by big pharma."

The CTT will collaborate with researchers at MUSC. Roninson says it's hoped that the research can lead to new pharmaceuticals, clinical trials, and corporate partnerships.

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