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Duncan and Nancy MacMillan Cancer Immunology and Metabolism Center of Excellence

Innovation inspiring hope.

still from video Immunotherapy Clinical Trials: Sue Scott’s Story of Survival
Watch "Immunotherapy Clinical Trials: Sue Scott’s Story of Survival" on YouTube here.

At the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey's Duncan and Nancy MacMillan Cancer Immunology and Metabolism Center of Excellence, our work is advancing cancer care beyond the future. With a focused and targeted approach to research and treatment, we are bringing patients with cancer new hope in situations where there previously was none.

For decades, the cornerstones of cancer treatment were surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. In recent years, immunotherapy has risen to become the capstone. Immunotherapy involves harnessing the power of the body’s own immune system to fight cancer cells. There are several immunologic therapies currently used to treat many different types of cancer, some with great success. However, while some cancers respond well to immunotherapy, others do not respond at all. Why?

Our mission is to find out why.

We believe the intricacies of cancer metabolism hold the key to answering this question and providing treatment for those previously unresponsive tumors. Discovering and manipulating the cancer cell’s inner workings and exploiting its weaknesses, along with powering the body’s own immune cells to fight cancer, all provide the blueprint for the future in cancer treatment.  

Rutgers is examining CAR T-cell technology, which involves using a patient’s T cells (cells within the normal immune system that fight infections in the body) to target and kill cancer cells in the body. This technique has proven highly effective in treating blood cancers. Our cutting-edge research involves identifying how this type of cell therapy may work in treating other, more common types of cancer in addition to blood cancers. We are finding out what makes cancer grow, and how to manipulate its own processes to stop cancer from growing and spreading.

Rutgers Cancer Institute’s Duncan and Nancy MacMillan Cancer Immunology and Metabolism Center of Excellence is at the intersection of oncologic immunology and metabolism, and seeks to unite these under one umbrella to:

  • Increase research that leads to new therapies for patients
  • Develop cutting-edge facilities to test new interventions
  • Facilitate commercial and university collaborations
  • Bring forth a new day in cancer research

A Stellar Partnership.

Mission (no longer) Impossible

Drs. Hinrichs and White

The Duncan and Nancy MacMillan Cancer Immunology and Metabolism Center of Excellence at Rutgers Cancer Institute is a groundbreaking collaboration between clinical and scientific specialties supporting cancer immunology research across many types of cancer. Read more in this magazine feature

Rutgers Cancer Institute’s Cancer Immunology and Metabolism Center of Excellence is united under the leadership of an incomparable pair of Co-Directors: Dr. Christian Hinrichs and Dr. Eileen White. Dr. Hinrichs comes to Rutgers from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), where he pioneered the use of patient immune cells for the treatment of HPV-associated cancers including cancer of the cervix and throat. He has also discovered new technologies to make T cells target a range of common cancers including those arising in the stomach, lung, and breast. The new treatments based on these discoveries will be offered at Rutgers in first-in-human clinical trials. Dr. Eileen White discovered and identified critical metabolic pathways through which cancer cells survive, reproduce, and evade immune responses, paving the way for inhibition of tumor growth to improve anti-cancer immune responses.

Together, the scientific expertise and clinical acumen of Dr. Hinrichs and Dr. White are unparalleled. And with the collaboration across Rutgers University and Princeton University (an NCI-approved research consortia partner) provide a rich and unique environment from which the Center of Excellence can further explore the link between cancer metabolism and immunology.

Find Out More.

To learn more about our programs and research, please see the following:

  • For more information about our clinical trials call 732-235-7356 or search for a clinical trial.
  • For inquiries about employment opportunities, please click here.
  • If you are interested in supporting the Duncan and Nancy MacMillan Cancer Immunology and Metabolism Center of Excellence at Rutgers Cancer Institute, please contact the Rutgers Cancer Institute Development Office at

In the News

Jersey's Best – August 2, 2022 – Is Immunotherapy the next big breakthrough?
The Pulse: NPR – July 16, 2021 – How a clinical trial cured cancer — in some cases (article) New Developments in Cancer Treatment (podcast)


Tapping into the dynamic relationship between the immune system and cancer, work begins within the Duncan and Nancy MacMillan Cancer Immunology and Metabolism Center of Excellence with an aim of developing new immunotherapies and novel cell-based treatments. Dr. Steven Libutti, Director, Rutgers Cancer Institute, discusses the Center and its importance as one of Rutgers University's Big Ideas in this video.