John Theurer Cancer Center Recognized by US News & World Report

Hackensack University Medical Center Has Best Cancer Center in NJ

U.S. News & World Report has recognized John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center as the best cancer center in New Jersey. The recognition reflects the extraordinary strength of its comprehensive patient care, research and education programs.

In 2019, John Theurer Cancer Center became a member of the National Cancer Institute-approved Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center Consortium, making the Cancer Center a member of one of just 16 cancer consortia based at the nation’s most prestigious institutions. The NCI endorses such consortia to bring together accomplished institutions with independently proven records of excellence to join forces in pursuit of the NCI’s original mission: improving cancer outcomes through scientific discovery, reducing the impact of cancer on individuals and communities and diminishing cancer disparities, and developing the next generation of cancer scientists, clinicians and educators.

John Theurer Cancer Center is organized into 16 specialized divisions, each led by a recognized expert in the field. With a strong focus on clinical science and innovation, John Theurer Cancer Center investigators were directly involved in the development of more than 40 new anticancer agents approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration over the last three years—particularly for blood cancers such as leukemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma, as well as solid tumors through Phase I first-in-human clinical trials.

“Our multidisciplinary team cares for patients with cancers of every type and stage in a highly subspecialized environment,” said Robert C. Garrett, FACHE, CEO, Hackensack Meridian Health. “Our commitment to cancer is reflective of our approach to everything we do: to provide the most advanced health care services based on the latest findings of medical research in a compassionate, culturally sensitive setting. It is an honor for us to be recognized as the top cancer center in our state.”

“Our exceptional team is proud to be recognized as the top cancer program in New Jersey. The scope and depth of expertise, together with our focus on clinical science and innovation, are what make our Cancer Center a destination program,” explained Andre Goy, M.D., M.S., chair and chief physician of John Theurer Cancer Center, Lymphoma Division chief, physician-in-chief of the Hackensack Meridian Health Oncology Care Transformation Service, and a renowned lymphoma expert who led the Cancer Center’s participation in the pioneering ZUMA-2 study. “Understandably, every person who receives a diagnosis of cancer seeks the center with the most experience and the best innovation. This is why patients come to John Theurer Cancer Center. We take care of each patient in a compassionate and friendly environment, and that’s what makes our patients smile.”

A number of metrics support that successful track record:

  • One of the nation’s largest bone marrow transplantation (BMT) programs. John Theurer Cancer Center is one of the top ten BMT programs in the country, performing more than 7,500 bone marrow transplants since 1990 and averaging 400 each year using all forms of stem cell transplantation—including transplants from donors, cord blood transplantation, and other forms of cellular therapies.
  • A leader in CAR T-cell immunotherapy. John Theurer Cancer Center initiated the first CAR T-cell therapy clinical trials through its NCI collaboration over eight years ago and became the first certified center in New Jersey to offer this revolutionary treatment, in which a patient’s own immune cells (T-cells) are trained to fight cancer. It is used to treat young patients with a certain type of leukemia and adults with aggressive lymphoma. More recently, CAR T-cell therapy was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in July 2020 for patients with persistent or recurrent mantle cell lymphoma, a rare but very challenging subtype of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The approval of this therapy was based on the game-changing results of the ZUMA-2 clinical trial in which John Theurer Cancer Center investigators had a leading role.
  • A strong focus on clinical science. Patients treated at John Theurer Cancer Center have access to more than 450 clinical trials of novel and promising treatment alternatives—particularly when standard chemotherapy fails, in combination with chemotherapy, or to replace chemotherapy entirely. John Theurer Cancer Center’s dedicated Phase I trials program allows patients to be among the first to have access to such innovative experimental therapies—a critical factor when standard treatment regimens fail to work.
  • A pioneer in immunotherapy. John Theurer Cancer Center clinical researchers have been at the forefront of immunotherapy, the next frontier in cancer. The ability to harness the immune system to eradicate cancer cells is radically changing the field for patients with many subtypes of cancer. These treatments include antibodies that can unleash the power of the immune system (called checkpoint inhibitors); small molecules that modulate the immune response; and CAR T-cell therapy as well as other forms of cellular therapies.
  • A close-knit collaboration for translational science with the Center for Discovery and Innovation (CDI). Cancer Center investigators collaborate with basic science researchers at the Hackensack Meridian Health CDI, with a strong focus on drug discovery, molecular genetics, and immunoresistance as well as the impact of the microbiome in cancer.
  • The largest robotic program in New Jersey. Cancer surgeons at John Theurer Cancer Center do more minimally invasive cancer surgeries than any other center in New Jersey. Hackensack University Medical Center has one of the three largest programs in the New York metropolitan area for robotic surgery—which often leads to better outcomes, fewer complications, and a faster recovery.
  • The Brain and Spine Institute is the only comprehensive brain tumor center in the state, offering an extensive portfolio of clinical trials, including vaccines in brain tumors, and the finest radiation therapy modalities.
  • Applying big data to treatment decision-making. John Theurer Cancer Center has created the only “Outcomes and Value-Based Research” division in New Jersey, focused on optimizing treatment decision-making and improving patient outcomes in a cost-conscious healthcare environment.
  • Top patient satisfaction rating. Press-Ganey surveys show that 99 percent of John Theurer Cancer Center patients report satisfaction with their care.

“This recognition as the state’s best cancer center reflects the strength of our research, the dedication of our multidisciplinary team, and the expertise of our physicians,” said Ihor Sawczuk, MD, FACS, Hackensack Meridian Health regional president, Northern Market and chief research officer. “We are grateful to our patients who have trusted us with their care and who continually inspire us to provide the best possible experience.”

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