The John Theurer Cancer Center, part of Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center announced on Tuesday it received approval from the National Cancer Institute as a research consortium member of the NCI-approved Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center Consortium.
“At Hackensack Meridian Health, we are committed to innovation across all aspects of health and health care, including how we research, treat and cure cancer,” said Robert Garrett, chief executive officer of Hackensack Meridian Health. “It is our hope that the work we will do through the consortium will benefit individuals not just in the New York/New Jersey metro areas, but also reduce the burden of cancer across the country,” said Garrett.
The center’s collaboration with NCI-designated Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center enables both organizations to continue their research at the highest level to deliver tomorrow’s breakthroughs in cancer cures today.
The consortium plans to advance research and innovate treatment in four key areas: breast cancer, cancer prevention and control, experimental therapeutics and molecular oncology. In the U.S., the NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center designation recognizes providers for their scientific leadership, community engagement, and the depth and breadth of their cancer research.
“Our relationship with Georgetown Lombardi is built on an ambitious research-driven agenda to improve cancer care and outcomes. We have worked together since 2013 with a common mission to prevent, treat, and cure cancers by linking scientific discovery, expert and compassionate patient care, quality education, and partnership with the community,” said Dr. Andrew Pecora, president of Physician Enterprise and chief innovations officer at Hackensack Meridian Health, professor of medicine and oncology at Georgetown University. “The NCI’s approval of the consortium represents the culmination of integrated research and collective talent and resources of two cancer centers. Collaborating with Georgetown Lombardi, a leading institution, allows us to use high-impact science to change both practice and policy,” Pecora said.
“We’ve aligned two very distinct institutions,” said Dr. Louis Weiner, director of the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center and professor of medicine and oncology at Georgetown University. “Yet it is these differences that make us stronger. Our communities are made of unique populations, our researchers and physicians specialize in different areas, and our broader institutions bring a differentiated approach,” said Weinger.
He added: “Our research relationship with John Theurer Cancer Center has deepened our work in the key major areas of basic research, clinical research, population science, community outreach and engagement, and cancer research career enhancement. The combination of this deepening research affiliation in New Jersey expands the impact our cancer center has on science and delivery of cancer care. Quite simply it allows us to provide tomorrow’s treatments today.”
John Theurer Cancer Center supports one of the largest bone marrow transplant (BMT) programs in the Northeast, performing well over 400 transplants annually. In 2014, John Theurer Cancer Center established a BMT program at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital/Georgetown Lombardi, expanding access to this life-saving treatment in the Washington, D.C. area.
“This NCI consortium approval was based on a rigorous process that began in 2013, and was made possible thanks to hard work and commitment across both teams at Georgetown Lombardi and John Theurer Cancer Center,” said Dr. André Goy, chairman and executive director of John Theurer Cancer Center, professor of medicine at Georgetown University. “Through the consortium and its support, the National Cancer Institute seeks to expand its core mission of fostering cancer research and advancements that benefit patients across the country. Our work with Lombardi has already helped accelerate both programs particularly in bone marrow transplantation, cell therapy – including CAR-T cell therapy, immunotherapy and new drugs development. As research partners, we also want to take advantage of technology and data/analytics, to improve patients’ outcomes and reduce cancer burden across all communities.”
“An important part of our work as part of the consortium is to address and reduce cancer disparities,” said Dr. Ihor Sawczuk, regional president, northern market, Hackensack Meridian Health. “Programs like those under the newly formed ‘Community Outreach and Engagement Team’ and the Latino Cancer Disparities Center will help in these critical efforts.”