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Rutgers Cancer Institute’s Year in Review: 2022

Tue, 12/27/2022 - 11:30

wooden blocks flipping from 2022 to 2023

As the state’s leading cancer program and only National Cancer Institute–designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey together with RWJBarnabas Health, is committed to providing the most advanced, comprehensive, and compassionate world-class cancer care to adults and children, conducting groundbreaking research, providing innovative clinical trials, and above all continuing to work together to conquer cancer. Below is a selection of our milestones and research discoveries this past year. As 2022 comes to a close, we reflect on the on the advancements we’ve made and look forward to a fruitful 2023.

Topping off Ceremony Celebrates the Future of Cancer Care
RWJBarnabas Health and Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, in partnership with the New Brunswick Development Corporation, hosted a topping off ceremony for the Jack and Sheryl Morris Cancer Center, the state’s first freestanding cancer hospital, marking the completion of the steel construction phase. Attendees were invited to sign the last steel beam being placed atop the 12-story, 520,000 square-foot facility in New Brunswick.  

Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Earns National Accreditation from the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons
The Commission on Cancer, a quality program of the American College of Surgeons, has granted Three-Year Accreditation to the cancer program at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, an RWJBarnabas Health Facility, in partnership with Rutgers Cancer Institute.

Investigators Develop Model to Predict Overall Survival in Adults Diagnosed with Advanced Stage Hodgkin Lymphoma
Investigators from Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, along with Tufts Medical Center in Boston, developed and validated the Advanced-stage Hodgkin lymphoma International Prognostication Index (A-HIPI). This work was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology (DOI: https://ascopubs.org/doi/full/10.1200/JCO.22.0247) simultaneously with an oral abstract presentation at the 2022 American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting and Exposition.

Enhancing Awareness and Participation of Black Breast Cancer Patients in Clinical Trials
Coral Omene, MD, PhD, medical oncologist in the Stacy Goldstein Breast Cancer Center at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, has been awarded a $50,000 grant from the V Foundation for Cancer Research in partnership with ESPN to increase clinical trial awareness and enrollment of Black women with breast cancer.

Unraveling of Genetic Mechanism behind Tumor Formation may Improve Targeted Treatment for Cancer Patients
An international team of researchers, including Shridar Ganesan, MD, PhD, chief of molecular oncology and associate director for translational research at Rutgers Cancer Institute, have found new opportunities to improve diagnostics and targeted therapy for many cancer patients.

RWJBarnabas Health and Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey Receive $2Million Grant from Merck Foundation to Advance Equitable Cancer Care in New Jersey
RWJBarnabas Health, in partnership with Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, is a grantee supported through the Alliance for Equity in Cancer Care, an initiative funded by the Merck Foundation and designed to make cancer care more equitable in the United States by helping patients living in underserved communities receive timely access to high-quality, culturally responsive care. 

Researchers Find Tumor Microbiome Interactions May Identify New Approaches for Pancreatic Cancer Treatment
Investigators from Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey examined the microbiome of pancreatic tumors and identified particular microorganisms at single cell resolution that are associated with inflammation and with poor survival. The findings are published in Cancer Cell (10.1016/j.ccell.2022.09.009).

$3M Grant Supports Expansion of Digital Intervention for Skin Self Examination among Skin Cancer Survivors
With the aid of a $3 million National Cancer Institute grant (R01CA2645-01), Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey researchers aim to enhance the effectiveness of a digital intervention that supports skin self-examination for survivors of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.

$3.5 Million NIH Grant to Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey Supports a new ‘Lens’ in Lung Cancer Screening
With the aid of a $3.5 million National Institutes of Health grant (R01HL158850), investigators from Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey along with Holden Cancer Center at the University of Iowa, and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, are collaborating on a project to address lung cancer screening disparities among individuals with a history of heavy smoking.

Leadership Appointments and National Recognition for Rutgers Cancer Institute Faculty

Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and its Top Research Leader Dr. Eileen White Selected to Lead Global Cancer Grand Challenges Team Taking on Cancer Cachexia
A world-class team of researchers assembled and led by Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and its Deputy Director and Chief Scientific Officer Eileen White, PhD, has been awarded a $25 million Cancer Grand Challenges grant to tackle the condition of cancer cachexia. 

Rutgers Cancer Institute Research Leader Eileen White Named Rutgers Board of Governors Professor of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
The Rutgers Board of Governors has named Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey Deputy Director Eileen White, PhD, the Board of Governors Professor of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry at the Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences for her contributions to science and leadership in the fields of apoptosis, autophagy and cancer metabolism.

New Chief of Bone Marrow Transplant and Cellular Therapies Named to New Jersey’s Only NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center
Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and RWJBarnabas Health have appointed Ira Braunschweig, MD, as chief, Section of Transplant and Cell Therapy at Rutgers Cancer Institute, chief of the Transplant and Cell Therapy Service of the RWJBarnabas Health Oncology Service Line, and director for Cell Therapy and Bone Marrow Transplantation at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, an RWJBarnabas facility. He will also serve as professor of medicine at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. 

New Jersey’s Only NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center Names Director for Phase I Clinical Trials and Investigational Therapeutics
Enhancing its commitment to providing the most advanced treatment options for cancer patients through clinical trials, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey has named Sanjay Goel, MD, MS, as director of its Phase I/Investigational Therapeutics Program. He is also a professor of medicine at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.  

Elisa Bandera Named Unilever Chair for the Study of Diet and Nutrition in the Prevention of Chronic Disease
The Rutgers University Board of Governors voted to approve Elisa Bandera, MD, PhD, an internationally recognized expert in nutrition and cancer epidemiology, as the Unilever Chair for the Study of Diet and Nutrition in the Prevention of Chronic Disease at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey.

New Chief of Blood Disorders Named to New Jersey’s Only NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center
Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and RWJBarnabas Health have appointed Matthew Matasar, MD, MS, as Chief of Blood Disorders at New Jersey’s leading cancer center and the only one in the state designated as a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute. In this role, he will oversee the Sections of Hematologic MalignanciesTransplant and Cell Therapy; and Benign Hematology. He also will serve as professor of medicine at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

Neil Palmisiano, MD, Appointed as Deputy Director of Phase 1 Therapeutics for Hematologic Malignancies at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey
Neil Palmisiano, MD, MS, is the new deputy director of Phase 1 Therapeutics for Hematologic Malignancies and co-medical director of the Office of Human Research Services at Rutgers Cancer Institute; and new System Leader for Leukemia for RWJBarnabas Health.