Working Together to Advance Cancer Care

June 8, 2018

Clinical Contributors to this Story

Michele Lyne Donato, M.D. contributes to topics such as Cancer Care.

Memorial Sloan Kettering and Hackensack Meridian Health partner up to ensure the highest-quality cancer care for patients in New Jersey and beyond.

If you or a loved one were facing cancer, you’d probably stop at nothing to find a top-notch cancer center that would give you the best chance for successful treatment. Now imagine you have behind you not one — but two — premier cancer institutions supporting you every step of the way. Thanks to a recent partnership between Memorial Sloan Kettering and Hackensack Meridian Health, that vision is now a reality. Two world-class cancer care organizations with deep New Jersey roots have come together with a single purpose: finding more cures for cancer faster while ensuring that patients have access to the highest-quality, most individualized cancer care when and where they need it.

POISED FOR INNOVATION

“These are exciting and hopeful times for all of us involved in cancer research and care at both organizations,” says Michele Donato, M.D., FACP, CPE, a medical oncologist and director of Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Therapy at John Theurer Cancer Center, part of Hackensack University Medical Center. “We believe the alliance between Memorial Sloan Kettering and Hackensack Meridian Health is a very special one because it brings together two highly regarded centers uniquely positioned to push past the boundaries of cancer care.”

The partnership combines both organizations’ expertise in all areas of cancer care and research to accelerate new discoveries and improve lives. Memorial Sloan Kettering and Hackensack Meridian Health have developed shared guidelines for patient care in breast, colon, lung and prostate cancers and non- Hodgkin lymphoma. That means physicians at both hospitals follow the most informed evidence-based protocols to achieve the best outcomes. These guidelines also enable Memorial Sloan Kettering and Hackensack Meridian Health physicians to measure patient outcomes over time, minimize variation and ultimately improve care.

SETTING STANDARDS OF CARE

“When we put together joint standards, we review all the evidence, go into the minutiae about how we think a certain problem should be managed and then put it all together in writing,” Dr. Donato explains. “That enables us, when we counsel patients, to truly give them the best opinion.”

Not only do both organizations follow the highest treatment standards, they share the same vision and commitment to innovation. For example, Memorial Sloan Kettering and Hackensack Meridian Health, both recognized leaders in the field of blood cancers, are working to advance the next generation of cutting-edge cellular therapies. This includes chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy, a groundbreaking and highly promising form of personalized immunotherapy for certain blood cancers.

BRINGING NEW OPTIONS TO PATIENTS

Another top priority is making a greater number of treatments available for more patients by expanding access to clinical trials and novel therapies. In addition to the hundreds of trials that each organization already offers, Memorial Sloan Kettering and Hackensack Meridian Health will build on the 45 trials they currently share and will establish new joint trials together. This combined scale will facilitate making new discoveries faster and enable the advancement of precision medicine and patient recovery. That means better outcomes — and new hope.

“There’s no question that we can do more, especially with novel therapies, because you need a certain critical mass of expertise in terms of having done the therapy, and you need a certain number of patients to understand the outcome,” Dr. Donato says. “So the partnership truly makes both Hackensack Meridian Health and Memorial Sloan Kettering better.”

Check out MSK-HMHPartnership.org for more information and details about upcoming events.