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Hunterdon News

Hunterdon Regional Cancer Center Partners With New Jersey’s First National Cancer Institute Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP)

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July 15, 2020

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has designated Hunterdon Regional Cancer Center as a National Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP).  Hunterdon Healthcare’s Hunterdon Regional Cancer Center will be one of the major health systems and medical centers throughout northern and central New Jersey that make up the Atlantic Health Cancer Consortium (AHCC) NCORP.  As New Jersey’s first and only NCORP, AHCC will help develop and implement NCI cancer prevention, screening, care delivery, and treatment studies with leading healthcare systems across the state.

“When it comes to cancer care, our focus is always on what is best and benefits our patients.  We are pleased to be part of this consortium of hospitals and be able to provide our patients with the most advanced clinical trials right here in Hunterdon County,” stated Barbara Tofani, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, Assistant Vice President, Outpatient and Ambulatory Services at Hunterdon Healthcare.

The AHCC NCORP Health Systems include:

  • Hunterdon Healthcare – Hunterdon Regional Cancer Center
  • Atlantic Health System
    • Morristown Medical Center, Overlook Medical Center, Chilton Medical Center, Newton Medical Center and Hackettstown Medical Center and Goryeb Children’s Hospital
  • CentraState Healthcare System
  • Holy Name Medical Center
  • Saint Peter’s Healthcare System
    • Saint Peter’s University Hospital, Saint Peter’s Children’s Hospital

The incidence of cancer in New Jersey is 477.5 cases per 100,000 versus 441.2 cases per 100,000 nationally. Warren (511.5/100,000) and Monmouth (497.8/100,000) counties have even higher cancer rates, while the pediatric cancer rate for New Jersey is above the national average at 17.1 versus 16.3 cases per 100,000.

The grant will enable all sites to participate in cutting-edge research from the NCI and National Clinical Trials Network, and will significantly enhance access to these trials for cancer patients throughout northern and central New Jersey.  The clinical trials will focus on cancer control, prevention, screening, care delivery, treatment and medical imaging, and many will include a quality-of-life component.  These studies will also incorporate the needs of diverse populations and will be integrated with cancer disparities research.

Specific goals of the consortium will be to increase adult and pediatric participation in the above-referenced types of NCI and National Clinical Trials Network clinical trials, including members of groups that are currently underrepresented in clinical trials, such as ethnic and racial minorities.  The consortium will also collect tissue samples in order to support advances in genomics and molecularly targeted therapies.

Additional goals include enhancing community involvement and the involvement of community-based physicians in cancer control, prevention and care delivery research through a variety of targeted community outreach and engagement efforts, and to support and mentor community oncologists and other medical specialists.

The consortium will also help develop and implement clinically significant studies that incorporate the unique research needs of New Jersey’s diverse population.  A special emphasis will be placed on involving non-English speaking individuals.

“Clinical advancements in prevention and treatment approaches must benefit all cancer patients. The best way to make that a reality is to ensure clinical research is conducted in diverse populations—both ethnic and geographic diversity,” said NCI Acting Director Douglas R. Lowy, MD. “Communities of color and rural communities face disadvantages in access to cutting-edge cancer care. We believe that clinical trials provide access to high quality cancer care. NCORP enables us to make this available to more communities.”

NCI grants went to 32 Community Sites and 14 Minority/Underserved (M/U) Community Sites, who have assembled more than 1,000 affiliates across the country to carry out cancer research. The NCORP network now covers 44 states, the District of Columbia, and the territories of Puerto Rico and Guam, the largest geographic coverage in the program’s history.

Hunterdon Regional Cancer Center
Hunterdon Regional Cancer Center is committed to providing high-quality care to every patient who enters our doors for consultation, education, treatment or follow-up care.   Hunterdon Regional Cancer Center is accredited by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer (CoC) and the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC).

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