Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Section Chief Honored for Contributions to Cancer and Blood Disorders

Dr. Richard Drachtman Receives Melvyn H. Motolinsky Award
October 23, 2018

New Brunswick, N.J. Richard Drachtman, MD, clinical section chief of the  Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Division at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, has been named the 2018 recipient of the Melvyn H. Motolinsky Research Foundation Distinguished Service Award in recognition of his accomplishments and leadership in the field of pediatric cancer and blood disorders.   

The Distinguished Service Award is reserved for those who make a difference in the lives of many through leadership in healthcare, public health, or public service. A believer in treating the ‘whole’ child – addressing clinical as well as non-clinical aspects of care – Dr. Drachtman is widely known for his clinical expertise and research in childhood cancer and sickle cell disease. He has been with Rutgers Cancer Institute since its inception 25 years ago, having most recently served as the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Program interim division chief from 2007 to earlier this year.  He is also the director of the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Regional Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center, which serves as a statewide referral program.

“I am humbled to be the recipient of this year’s Distinguished Service Award from the Melvyn H. Motolinsky Research Foundation.  While an individual honor, there are numerous others – including my colleagues at Rutgers Cancer Institute – who impact our center’s research and treatment efforts so that we can deliver the best care to our patients,” notes Drachtman, who is also a professor of pediatrics at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

As an individual investigator, Drachtman has extensive experience in clinical research focused on Hodgkin disease and is often invited to present his work nationally and internationally. He has long developed pediatric cancer clinical trial protocols in conjunction with the national cooperative organization Children’s Oncology Group and other collaborators. Drachtman also serves as chair of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Pediatric Central Institutional Review Board (PedCIRB). As part of this expert panel, Drachtman leads medical experts and patient advocates in reviewing national clinical trial protocols designed for pediatric patients.  

“As New Jersey Jersey’s only NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, Rutgers Cancer Institute has an obligation to conduct in-depth research and translate that science into cutting-edge treatments. Dr. Drachtman’s expertise in this area is unsurpassed. As a result of his leadership both locally and nationally, we have the opportunity to continually improve outcomes for our pediatric and young adult patients,” adds Rutgers Cancer Institute Chief of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, Peter D. Cole, MD, who is also a professor of pediatrics at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

The Distinguished Service Award was presented to Drachtman at the recent Annual Meeting of the Board of Directors of the Melvyn H. Motolinsky Research Foundation. Melvyn H. Motolinsky was a lawyer practicing in New Brunswick in 1969, when he died of leukemia at age 26. The foundation created by Motolinsky’s family to honor him supports research in leukemia and other blood-related diseases in a number of ways, including an established fellowship for postdoctoral students, an endowed chair in hematology and the Melvyn H. Motolinsky Laboratory for Hematology Research at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

About Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey

As New Jersey’s only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, Rutgers Cancer Institute, along with its partner RWJBarnabas Health, offers the most advanced cancer treatment options including bone marrow transplantation, proton therapy and CAR-T cell therapy.  Along with clinical trials and novel therapeutics such as precision medicine and immunotherapy – many of which are not widely available – patients have access to these cutting-edge therapies at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey in New Brunswick, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey at University Hospital in Newark, as well as through RWJBarnabas Health facilities.

Along with world-class treatment, which is often fueled by on-site research conducted in Rutgers Cancer Institute laboratories, patients and their families also can seek cancer preventative services and education resources throughout the Rutgers Cancer Institute and RWJBarnabas Health footprint statewide. To make a tax-deductible gift to support the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, call 848-932-8013 or visit


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