John Theurer Cancer Center to Establish Next Generation Sequencing Laboratory for Precision Genomic Profiling of Cancers
John Theurer Cancer Center (JTCC), at Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey, and Genomic Testing Cooperative (GTC), Irvine, CA, announced an agreement to establish a state-of-the-art, next generation sequencing (NGS) laboratory for molecular profiling. This NGS laboratory, located at John Theurer Cancer Center, will serve all physicians within Regional Cancer Care Associates (RCCA), a network of cancer care professionals in New Jersey, Connecticut, and Maryland.
As a leading cancer institute and a member of the NCI-approved Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center Consortium, John Theurer Cancer Center will perform molecular profiling of all cancers in its patients with solid tumors or blood cancers. The results of such profiling will facilitate precision medicine: matching patients with therapies that target the molecular abnormalities driving the growth of their cancers. Furthermore, this molecular profiling will drive the expansion of the cancer center’s innovation and dedication to advancing the science of oncology practice in the community.
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The John Theurer Cancer Center NGS laboratory will adapt highly validated tests developed by GTC for DNA and RNA profiling. Paired DNA and RNA profiling is increasingly employed in genomics research to uncover molecular mechanisms underlying the development and progression of disease and to explore personal genotype and phenotype correlations.
“Collaborations such as these demonstrate the commitment of the Hackensack Meridian Health system to improving the care of people with cancer, one of the country’s most common illnesses and a leading cause of death in the United States,” noted Robert C. Garrett, FACHE, chief executive officer, Hackensack Meridian Health. “Technologies such as NGS with DNA and RNA profiling put us at the forefront of cancer care and research.”
“The sophisticated algorithms and artificial intelligence software used for analyzing sequencing data and linking them to clinical data are based on deep knowledge in technical and clinical needs,” added Andre Goy, MD, physician-in-chief for Oncology at Hackensack Meridian Health and chair of John Theurer Cancer Center.
“We are delighted to be working with the team at GTC. We selected GTC tests because of the significant diligence and scientific rigor used in their development,” said David S. Siegel, MD, PhD, chief, Myeloma Division at John Theurer Cancer Center and founding director, Institute for Multiple Myeloma at the Hackensack Meridian Center for Discovery and Innovation. “We believe that profiling both RNA and DNA in cancers is crucial — not only for increasing accuracy and providing thorough evaluation, but also for innovation and the development of new clinical research approaches.”
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“Given the increasing number of novel therapies, particularly targeted therapies in solid tumors, having the ability to identify ‘mutation drivers’ that help us make healthcare decisions is becoming an increasingly routine practice in oncology,” said Martin Gutierrez, MD, head of Phase I and Thoracic Oncology at John Theurer Cancer Center. “Real world experience have shown that this genomic information should be used more frequently to improve patients’ outcomes.”
Maher Albitar, MD, chief executive officer and chief medical officer at GTC, stated, “Working with John Theurer Cancer Center to establish an NGS laboratory at a patient care site aligns with our mission as a cooperative company focused on making high-quality molecular profiling available and affordable for every patient with cancer. Furthermore, this collaboration will allow GTC to co-develop new tests with John Theurer Cancer Center by utilizing clinical and outcomes data from John Theurer Cancer Center, which will accelerate innovation in oncology and result in better patient care.”
“When you help one person overcome cancer, you make life better for their families, friends, and coworkers, too,” explained Mark D. Sparta, FACHE, president and chief hospital executive, Hackensack University Medical Center and executive vice president of Population Health, Hackensack Meridian Health. “Bringing a tool like NGS into the routine care of people with cancer can improve lives — and by extension, entire communities.”
“Cancer affects many residents and their loved ones in northern New Jersey. Having NGS at John Theurer Cancer Center, coupled with the technologies of GTC, puts our doctors in a strong position to better understand what is driving the growth of their patients’ cancers so they can match them with the most effective therapies,” said Ihor Sawczuk, MD, FACS, Regional President of the Northern Market. “We are incredibly fortunate to have this resource right here in Hackensack.”
More than 30,000 new cancer patients are treated by RCCA physicians annually. John Theurer Cancer Center participates in more than 350 ongoing clinical trials.