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Hackensack Meridian to launch specialized cancer research center Partnership creates first private school of medicine in NJ

Hackensack University Medical Center Foundation has carved out 10,000-sq.-ft. space in the Seton Hall-Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine for its new Multiple Myeloma Institute.The new institute is being funded, in part, by a donation from Summit-based pharmaceutical company, Celgene Corp. The amount of the gift was not disclosed. 

While the new institute will be part of the Hackensack Meridian Health’s John Theurer Cancer Center in Hackensack, its facility will be part of the new medical school. The Seton Hall-Hackensack medical school formed last year was the first tenant to sign on to be part of the 116-acre On3 facility developed by Prism Capital Partners and Cushman & Wakefield in Nutley from the former Hoffman-Roche Campus.

The school signed a 25-year lease in July. It will also host Seton Hall’s College of Nursing and School of Health and Medical Sciences, as well as the future site of a National Health Institute-designated clinical research center.

The new institute will feature a medical lab dedicated to researching treatments for multiple myeloma, a relatively rare form of bone marrow cancer. The lab will aid patients by harnessing real-world, real-time clinical data that advances care.

Dr. David Siegel, chair of the Multiple Myeloma Institute, told NJBIZ that MMI will be unique in that it has multiple myeloma specialists on site, and therefore based its research on patients that are being treated locally for the disease.

“This will give us a unique perspective on both the needs of patients but also the actual nature of the disease,” Siegel said. “We have already recruited a group of scientists whose interests are very different from most work that is going on in multiple myeloma.  Because of our close patient relationships, both geographically and professionally, we expect to have a level of input and participation that is not usually seen in the field.”

Siegel said the former Roche campus facility is the perfect space for the new institute, even though it will still be a part of the John Theurer Cancer Center.

“It is an impressive physical plant, made for laboratory research and is in close proximity to where our patients receive their care,” Siegel said. “The other research teams that will be located at the campus will allow for an exceptional degree of cross pollination. We expect this space will be scalable as the program grows and gains additional funding. “

Siegel also said that Celgene, which specializes in new cancer therapies, has been a long time research partner of the JT Cancer Center in treating multiple myeloma patients. Together, he said, they have pioneered  critical therapies to treat patients.

The MMI will also fit in nicely with the new medical school, which is designed to reflect the way  health care will be delivered in the future, according to a statement from Hackensack Meridian and Seton Hall in July.

The partnership makes the new school the first private school of medicine in the state.

“The longevity of the lease indicates our confidence that this school of medicine will thrive and become one of the nation’s best. We look forward to providing a world-class medical school on a world-class campus,” according to a July press release from Seton Hall.

By 2020, it is estimated there will be a shortage of more than 3,000 physicians in the state, according to the statement from the school partners.

Vince Calio
Vince Calio covers health care and manufacturing for NJBIZ.

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