Making an IMPACT
New Brunswick, N.J. – The method of treating cancer patients who have genomic abnormalities with drugs designed specifically to target those abnormalities has resulted in higher response rates than have been previously seen. Often times these discoveries are made as part of a clinical trial. Patient participation in clinical research studies contributes to the advancement of scientific discovery and the development of the next generation of cancer treatments. Innovation of clinical trial design and the need to assess and streamline established processes for developing and executing these studies is more important than ever before. A $600,000 gift from Jewels of Charity is fueling a comprehensive clinical trial initiative at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey that will address those needs.
The effort is known as the Institutional Multidisciplinary Paradigm to Accelerate Collaboration and Translation (IMPACT). The aim – as illustrated in the acronym – is to enhance the way cancer discoveries are translated from the laboratory bench to patient bedside and back again. Further development of the IMPACT initiative will require increasing scientific depth to enable new approaches to improve the prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment of cancers.
Showing its commitment to clinical research and making a significant investment in this effort, the Cancer Institute earlier this year recruited a new Associate Director for Clinical Science. Howard L. Kaufman, MD, FACS, a leader in clinical and translational research, is nationally known for his work in cancer immunotherapy and melanoma. As part of the IMPACT initiative, Dr. Kaufman will lead six new specialized clinical trials aimed at molecular targets, as opposed to a specific tumor type, utilizing the strengths and capabilities of the Cancer Institute. The Jewels of Charity gift will enable $100,000 to be devoted to each of the six studies.
One of the six clinical trials will focus on a new approach that utilizes T cells (part of the white blood cells) from cancer patients in which the cells are genetically modified to attack only cancer cells. This approach requires specialized centers such as the Cancer Institute that have the capability of preparing these cells. These cells already have shown major clinical responses in patients with certain blood cancers, such as B cell lymphomas, chronic lymphocytic leukemias and in Hodgkin’s lymphoma patients that have not responded to other treatments. It is expected that this approach will first be tested in patients with lymphoma and then in solid tumors, such as melanoma, ovarian cancer and lung cancer. The aim is to confirm the effectiveness and safety of these new agents and provide the best possible care for patients with difficult to treat cancers or those that have not responded to more established treatment options.
Philanthropic funding through the Award of Hope Gala, Rutgers University Foundation, and the Cancer Institute Cancer Center Support Grant (P30CA072720) will provide additional support for the IMPACT clinical trials.
About Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey
Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey (www.cinj.org) is the state’s first and only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. As part of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, the Cancer Institute of New Jersey is dedicated to improving the detection, treatment and care of patients with cancer, and to serving as an education resource for cancer prevention. Physician-scientists at the Cancer Institute engage in translational research, transforming their laboratory discoveries into clinical practice, quite literally bringing research to life. To make a tax-deductible gift to support the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, call 732-235-8614 or visit www.cinj.org/giving. Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TheCINJ.
The Cancer Institute of New Jersey Network is comprised of hospitals throughout the state and provides the highest quality cancer care and rapid dissemination of important discoveries into the community. Flagship Hospital: Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. System Partner: Meridian Health (Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Ocean Medical Center, Riverview Medical Center, Southern Ocean Medical Center, and Bayshore Community Hospital). Major Clinical Research Affiliate Hospitals: Carol G. Simon Cancer Center at Morristown Medical Center, Carol G. Simon Cancer Center at Overlook Medical Center, and Cooper University Hospital. Affiliate Hospitals: JFK Medical Center, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton (CINJ Hamilton), Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset, Shore Medical Center, The University Hospital and University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro.