June 15, 2024
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Cancer Treatment Designed With the Individual in Mind

(Courtesy of RWJ Barnabas) Medicine is always advancing, but these days the treatment of cancer is making unusually dramatic strides. Because of evolving research in how the disease develops and how to stop it, physicians and scientists around the world can now offer patients promising, highly precise therapies that were not available before. And new ones are developed regularly. For New Jersey residents, a new partnership brings this world-class care closer than ever.

Last summer, RWJBarnabas Health, including Saint Barnabas Medical Center, and Rutgers University announced plans to join together to create the state’s largest academic health care system. Further enhancing patient access to cancer clinical trials in the region, the physicians and researchers at Saint Barnabas recently established a clinical research partnership with Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey (RCINJ).

An important aspect of current cancer research involves “precision” medicine, says Michael Scoppetuolo, M.D., chief medical officer of The Cancer Center at Saint Barnabas Medical Center. “The Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey has a strong research program in this area. So the new partnership between our organizations will bring our patients new and innovative therapies that are not necessarily available outside of clinical trials.”

Clinical trials are research studies to find ways to prevent and cure diseases. Such trials are often an option for cancer patients, according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Some of these trials are only offered through NCI-designated centers such as Rutgers Cancer Institute.

Through research at Rutgers and elsewhere, physicians are beginning to identify why and where cancer forms, with the goal of developing precise treatments for each person. This field of study has advanced rapidly in recent years, Dr. Scoppetuolo says, due to techniques to find single genetic mutations (undesirable changes in genes) and combinations of mutations that lead to cancer. With this information, clinicians have a better target for experimenting with prevention and treatment.

“Precision medicine is a subject of research for all cancers today,” Dr. Scoppetuolo says. “Our research partnership with Rutgers will connect our exceptional physicians with experienced researchers, so we can bring the most advanced, cutting-edge personalized treatments to patients.”

Adds Stephen P. Zieniewicz, FACHE, president and chief executive officer: “This partnership is one more sign of our continuing commitment to provide the latest and finest care at Saint Barnabas Medical Center.”

To make an appointment with the Cancer Center at Saint Barnabas Medical Center, please call 973-322-2929 or visit rwjbh.org/sbmccancer.

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