Research Stories

At the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, scientific research goes beyond traditional microscopes and beakers. Our research members – whether basic scientists, bioinformatics specialists, statisticians, clinical specialists, population scientists, or others – have unique expertise in various translational aspects of cancer research. They work collaboratively to translate the latest innovations in cancer research into tomorrow’s treatments for cancer patients.

Precision Medicine Aims to Advance Personalized Cancer Treatments

With recent advancements in technology and biomedical informatics, a more personalized approach to prescribing cancer treatment and developing these therapies is preferred over “one-size-fits-all” methods. The Cancer Institute of New Jersey has been on the cutting-edge of this movement and is now launching a more concrete effort that is poised to change the way that molecular and genetic information is being used to diagnose and treat cancer – an initiative known as “precision medicine” – also known to many as “personalized medicine.”

Certain Men Receiving Prostate Cancer Hormone Therapy Likely to Have More Fractures After Treatment

In what is believed to be the first study to describe the impact on men with a ‘high’ risk of bone fracture who are receiving long-term androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) for prostate cancer, research from the Cancer Institute of New Jersey shows this population to have a higher occurrence of fracture following completion of treatment.

Unlocking the Mysteries of Breast Cancer

Investigators from the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, Princeton University, and the University of Buffalo, have discovered that a protein necessary for lactation blocks the growth and spread of breast tumors. The findings were recently published in the journal Nature Cell Biology.

Research Spotlight: Roger Strair, MD, PhD

Dr. Roger Strair has been a physician and researcher at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey for 18 years and has focused his efforts on the care of patients with hematologic (blood-derived) malignancies such as leukemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma, myelodysplasia and related disorders. He has also been a founding member of the CINJ Hematopoietic/Bone Marrow Transplant Program. Dr. Strair works with a specialized group of medical oncologists, nurse practitioners, bone marrow transplant coordinators, nurse clinicians and laboratory research scientists, who are engaged in novel research. 

Metabolism Mystery

In talking to members of Eileen White’s Laboratory about their work at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, one might feel as if they’re in the middle of a detective novel. The Dick Tracy of this story is a high-tech piece of equipment known as the Seahorse and the mystery at hand is determining how cancer cells use energy to stay alive.  Investigators in the White lab have been using the recently acquired machine to unravel the inner workings of cancer cell metabolism and to see how these cells handle stress, especially starvation.

Examining the ‘Circle of Health’

Compared to Caucasian women, African-American women are more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer at a younger age and at a later stage, and have more aggressive features associated with poor prognosis.  However, the reasons for these differences remain unknown.  To address these issues, the Cancer Institute of New Jersey is expanding its current research efforts as part of a new consortium of four studies in African-American women.

Using Systems Biology to Improve Patient Outcomes

As unique as one’s ‘John Hancock,’ a genetic “signature” is helping scientists develop a new technique to identify aggressive forms of prostate cancer.  Currently, a grading system known as Gleason score determines the severity of prostate cancer, with a high score typically being assigned to those determined to have a poor prognosis.  But there are times when men with a low Gleason score still go on to develop aggressive tumors. Investigators from the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, along with colleagues from the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and Chugai Pharmaceutical in Japan, wanted to further understand the molecular characteristics associated with poor prognosis – all through the help of Systems Biology methodologies.

Breaking Down Barriers

One of the biggest problems with treating cancer is drug resistance.  Not all patients respond favorably to anti-cancer drugs, and those who do may develop a resistance to them.  One might ask why…and what can be done about it? In a laboratory on the fourth floor at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, those are queries that investigators led by CINJ researcher Kathleen Scotto, PhD, tackle every day.

Answer: Who is ‘Watson?’

When one thinks of cancer research, one may think of the traditional test tubes, beakers and microscopes and how what is being examined translates into new treatments for patients.  While traditional science is a large part of that dynamic, computer technology is an equal partner, allowing researchers to explore the nuances of the disease in a faster, comprehensive, more precise fashion. Under the direction of David J. Foran, PhD, members of his laboratory and the Center for Biomedical Imaging at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey are spearheading the development of special computational applications that can examine and characterize patterns within cancer malignancies.

Menthol Cigarettes May Make it Tougher to Quit Smoking for Certain Populations

Could a mint-flavored additive to cigarettes have a negative impact on smoking cessation efforts? Recent research from investigators at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey and School of Public Health finds that menthol cigarettes are associated with decreased quitting in the United States and that this effect is more pronounced for blacks and Puerto Ricans.


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