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Research: New Jersey’s First National Cancer Institute Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP) Awarded to Atlantic Health Cancer Consortium

November 15, 2019

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has designated Atlantic Health System as a National Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP) site of the Atlantic Health Cancer Consortium (AHCC). Covering 73% of New Jersey’s population, it is the first and only New Jersey-based NCORP. AHCC will help develop and implement NCI cancer prevention, screening, care delivery, and treatment studies with leading health care systems across the state. The major health systems and medical centers throughout New Jersey that make up the AHCC NCORP include:

  • Atlantic Health System hospitals: Morristown, Overlook,
    Chilton, Newton and Hackettstown medical centers and Goryeb
    Children’s Hospital
  •  CentraState Healthcare System
  • Holy Name Medical Center
  • Hunterdon Healthcare
  • Saint Peter’s Healthcare System
  • Saint Peter’s University Hospital, Saint Peter’s Children’s Hospital

Atlantic Health System will serve as the lead affiliate for NCORP Community Site activities, providing the scientific leadership and central support personnel necessary to accomplish the AHCC NCORP objectives. Atlantic Health System leadership includes experienced cancer investigators in both adult and pediatric cancers with unique expertise that spans the cancer continuum.

“As the first National Cancer Institute NCORP site based in New Jersey, we will expand the NCORP network coverage by 6.5 million people,” said Missak Haigentz, MD, medical director of Hematology and Oncology for Atlantic Health System and principal investigator for AHCC NCORP. “We are proud to partner with these leading health care organizations, each of which has its own unique strengths and patient populations. This will be an exceptional and unprecedented cancer care consortium for New Jersey, which has a diverse population and higher rates of adult and childhood cancer than the nation as a whole.”

The grant will enable all sites in the AHCC NCORP to participate in additional cutting-edge research from the NCI and National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN), and will significantly enhance access to these trials for cancer patients throughout 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 Include the Following:

  • Increasing 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.
  • Enhancing community involvement and physicians in cancer control, prevention and care delivery research through a variety of targeted community outreach and engagement efforts.
  • Supporting and mentoring 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.

For information on current Atlantic Health System Cancer Care clinical trials, visit atlantichealth.org/research.