Collaborative Project to Advance Cancer Treatment and Research
MedStar Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C. in collaboration with John Theurer Cancer Center, part of Hackensack Meridian Health, Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, N.J., announce the 100th blood stem cell transplant performed since the BMT program’s first patient was treated in September, 2013.
The patient, a woman from Arlington, Virginia, received her blood stem cell transplant at MedStar Georgetown as a treatment for multiple myeloma diagnosed in December 2016.
The BMT program at MedStar Georgetown is a joint effort with specialists from Hackensack John Theurer Cancer Center and a key component of the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, the only cancer program in the Washington, D.C. region designated by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) as a comprehensive cancer center.
“Once considered experimental, BMT is today’s established gold standard for treating patients with a number of malignant and other non-malignant diseases of the immune system, blood, and bone marrow, including multiple myeloma, lymphoma, and acute and chronic leukemia. For some conditions, blood stem cell transplant can provide a cure in patients who have failed conventional therapies,” says Scott Rowley, MD, chief of the BMT program at MedStar Georgetown as well as a member of the John Theurer Cancer Center’s Blood and Marrow Stem Cell Transplantation. “For some conditions, it can actually be a cure; for others, it prolongs survival and improves quality of life. Having performed 100 BMTs at MedStar Georgetown including allogenic transplantation illustrates the strength and maturity of our program achieved in rather short time.”
MedStar Georgetown’s program is also the only comprehensive BMT center within Washington, D.C. and southern Maryland with accreditation from the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT) for adult autologous procedures, where the patient donates his or her own cells.
The BMT program at JTCC is one of the top 10 transplant programs in the United States, with more than 400 transplants performed annually.
A BMT involves a two-step process: first, collecting bone marrow stem cells from the patient and storing them for future use. Then, a week or so later, patients receive high dose chemotherapy to eliminate their disease. The previously stored cells are reinfused back into the bloodstream, where after reaching the bone marrow, they begin repopulating and allow the patient to recover their blood counts over the following 2 weeks.
“Even though BMT is considered standard therapy for myeloma worldwide, in the United States fewer than 50 percent of the patients who could benefit from BMT are referred for evaluation,” says David H. Vesole, MD, PhD, Co-Chief and Director of Research of John Theurer Cancer Center’s Multiple Myeloma division and director of MedStar Georgetown’s Multiple Myeloma Program.
“That’s mostly due to physicians’ concerns that a patient is too old or compromised from other health conditions like diabetes, cardiac disease or renal failure. But new techniques and better supportive care have improved both patient outcomes and the entire transplant process, extending BMT to more patients than ever before.”
The MedStar Georgetown/Georgetown Lombardi Blood and Marrow Stem Cell Transplant Program is part of a collaborative cancer research agenda and multi-year plan to form an NCI-recognized cancer consortium. This recognition would support the scientific excellence of the two centers and highlight their capability to integrate multi-disciplinary, collaborative research approaches to focus on all the aspects of cancer.
The research areas include expansion of clinical bone marrow transplant research; clinical study of “haplo” transplants — use of half-matched stem cell donor cells; re-engineering the function and focus of key immune cells; and the investigation of “immune checkpoint” blocking antibodies that unleash a sustained immune response against cancer cells.
“In this partnership, we’ve combined John Theurer’s strength in clinical care with Georgetown Lombardi’s strong research base that significantly contributes to clinical excellence at MedStar Georgetown. By working together, we have broadened our cancer research to offer more effective treatment options for tomorrow’s patients,” says Andrew Pecora, MD, FACP, CPE, president of the Physician Enterprise and chief innovations officer, Hackensack Meridian Health. “This is one of many clinical and research areas that have been enhanced by this affiliation.”
“Our teams are pursuing specific joint research projects we feel are of the utmost importance and significance in oncology particularly around immuno-oncology as well as precision medicine,” says André Goy, MD, MS, chairman of the John Theurer Cancer Center and director of the division chief of Lymphoma; chief science officer and director of Research and Innovation, RCCA; professor of medicine, Georgetown University. “Together our institutions have a tremendous opportunity to transform the delivery of cancer care for our patient populations and beyond.”
ABOUT THE JOHN THEURER CANCER CENTER AT HACKENSACK UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER
John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center is New Jersey’s largest and most comprehensive center dedicated to the diagnosis, treatment, management, research, screenings, and preventive care as well as survivorship of patients with all types of cancers. The 14 specialized divisions covering the complete spectrum of cancer care have developed a close-knit team of medical, research, nursing, and support staff with specialized expertise that translates into more advanced, focused care for all patients. Each year, more people in the New Jersey/New York metropolitan area turn to the John Theurer Cancer Center for cancer care than to any other facility in New Jersey. Housed within a 775-bed not-for-profit teaching, tertiary care, and research hospital, the John Theurer Cancer Center provides state-of-the-art technological advances, compassionate care, research innovations, medical expertise, and a full range of aftercare services that distinguish the John Theurer Cancer Center from other facilities. www.jtcancercenter.org.
MedStar Georgetown University Hospital is a not-for-profit, acute-care teaching and research hospital with 609 beds located in Northwest Washington, D.C. Founded in the Jesuit principle of cura personalis—caring for the whole person—MedStar Georgetown is committed to offering a variety of innovative diagnostic and treatment options within a trusting and compassionate environment.
MedStar Georgetown’s centers of excellence include neurosciences, transplant, cancer and gastroenterology. Along with Magnet® nurses, internationally recognized physicians, advanced research and cutting-edge technologies, MedStar Georgetown’s healthcare professionals have a reputation for medical excellence and leadership.
For more information please visit: medstargeorgetown.org/bmsct
About Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center
Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center, a 775-bed nonprofit teaching and research hospital located in Bergen County, NJ, is the largest provider of inpatient and outpatient services in the state. Founded in 1888 as the county’s first hospital, it is now part of one of the largest networks in the state comprised of 28,000 team members and more than 6,000 physicians. Hackensack University Medical Center was listed as the number one hospital in New Jersey in U.S. News & World Report’s 2016-17 Best Hospital rankings – maintaining its place atop the NJ rankings since the rating system was introduced. It was also named one of the top four New York Metro Area hospitals. Hackensack University Medical Center is one of only five major academic medical centers in the nation to receive Healthgrades America’s 50 Best Hospitals Award for five or more years in a row. Becker’s Hospital Review recognized Hackensack University Medical Center as one of the 100 Great Hospitals in America 2017. The medical center is one of the top 25 green hospitals in the country according to Practice Greenhealth, and received 25 Gold Seals of Approval™ by The Joint Commission – more than any other hospital in the country. It was the first hospital in New Jersey and second in the nation to become a Magnet® recognized hospital for nursing excellence; receiving its fifth consecutive designation in 2014. Hackensack University Medical Center has created an entire campus of award-winning care, including: the John Theurer Cancer Center; the Heart & Vascular Hospital; and the Sarkis and Siran Gabrellian Women’s and Children’s Pavilion, which houses the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital and Donna A. Sanzari Women’s Hospital, which was designed with The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center and listed on the Green Guide’s list of Top 10 Green Hospitals in the U.S. Hackensack University Medical Center is the Hometown Hospital of the New York Giants and the New York Red Bulls and is Official Medical Services Provider to The Northern Trust PGA Golf Tournament. It remains committed to its community through fundraising and community events especially the Tackle Kids Cancer Campaign providing much needed research at the Children’s Cancer Institute housed at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital. To learn more, visit www.HackensackUMC.org.