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Phase I/Investigational Therapeutics Program

The Phase I/Developmental Therapeutics Program at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey is a multidisciplinary scientific group designed to develop new methods for the treatment of cancer. The Program includes a team of medical oncologists, nurses, research scientists, data coordinators, and social workers who have extensive experience in providing novel therapeutic strategies. The Program conducts clinical trials of novel targeted therapy approaches, including genomics-directed protocols, and novel immuno-oncology approaches, as well as first in human trials of novel compounds. Clinical trial offerings are diverse and include partnerships with academia, industry, and government. 

As New Jersey's only NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, patients and physicians at Rutgers Cancer Institute have access to the newest and most promising cancer treatments supported by the National Cancer Institute, pharmaceutical companies and Rutgers Cancer Institute. Patients may have received prior therapies or even occasionally, are referred for treatment prior to starting a Phase I treatment option. The Phase I team meets weekly to discuss current and pending clinical trials, and reviews the progress of all patients on Phase I clinical trials.

What is a Phase I Clinical Trial?

Clinical trials occur in multiple phases. After a promising drug or compound is developed in the laboratory, the first step of moving information from ‘bench to bedside’ is an early phase clinical study, such as a Phase I clinical trial. The major focus on a Phase I clinical trial is to assess the safety of new agents and establish the most effective method of administration. Treatment is typically administered in small groups of patients in increasing doses in order to determine the maximum dose that does not cause significant side effects. Often times, patients are asked to give tissue or blood samples to help researchers investigate the mechanism of action and how the drug is absorbed in the body. Phase I clinical trials are a viable option for patients that have not had success on standard therapies and have exhausted other available options.


Clinical Trials:


Jyoti Malhotra headshotJyoti Malhotra, MD, MPH
Interim Director, Phase I



Medical Oncologists

Roman Groisberg headshotRoman Groisberg, MD, Director, Sarcoma Program for the Division of Medical Oncology
Jyoti Malhotra headshotJyoti Malhotra, MD, MPH, Interim Director

Gynecologic Oncologist


Mark Coogan, Advanced Practice Nurse
Laura Sullivan, RN, BSN, Nurse Navigator
Alyssa Iwano, RN, BSN, OCN, Research Nurse Clinician
Debbie Pomponio, RN, BSN, Research Nurse Clinician
Melissa Frankel, RN, BSN Research Nurse Clinician

Research Coordinators and Research Staff

Demmie Aguilar, Research Coordinator
Rebecca St. Fort, Clinical Research Coordinator
Aparna Kareddula, PhD, Clinical Research Coordinator
Joanne Onyschak, CCRP, Phase I Program Development Analyst