The Morristown Medical Center, part of the Atlantic Health System, recently opened its Breakthrough Treatment Center highlighting that the movement for clinical research as a care option isn’t in the future but is now. With the rapid pace of clinical development advanced investigational products aren’t the last resort but rather become an imminent option at the clinic. The Breakthrough Treatment Center includes a partnership with Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), an affiliate of City of Hope and innovative biotech investor Origin Commercial Ventures, which will bring some of the most innovative and exciting new cancer treatment options to this part of New Jersey.
This was the message from Angela Alistar, a leading gastrointestinal medical oncology researcher who noted that clinical trials used to be an option of last resort. During the speech at the ribbon-cutting opening, Dr. Alistar pointed out that “As a physician, I always look for early-phase studies because I know what standard of care can do. Unless I have a curative standard of care treatment, I ‘m not interested. I want to do better. I want to find a clinical trial that combines standard of care with something exciting that has promise. I’m always looking for, ‘How can we do better.’”
Morristown Medical Center
Based in Morristown, New Jersey, the health provider was established way back in 1892 and is now part of the parent Atlantic Health System, a not-for-profit health system operating hospitals and clinics in New Jersey. With 5,500 employees, Morristown Medical Center represents the town’s largest employer. A non-profit 687-licensed bed hospital, the center specialties include cardiology and cardiac surgery, adult and pediatric oncology, orthopedics, critical and emergency care and inpatient rehabilitation. The official hospital for the New York Jets football team, it’s now home to the Breakthrough Treatment Center.
Breakthrough Treatment Center
The Morristown Medical Center Breakthrough Treatment Center offers world-class clinical trials in a community health setting. This new center represents the state-of-the-art in clinical research as a care option. President Trish O’Keefe reports that patients will now be able to get treatments at Morristown that they could get in a few other places in the country. Even better, they now have access to world-class research in a community setting—a center that’s not only warm and welcoming but one close to home.
A Pioneering Partnership Enables over 70 Phase I Clinical Trials for Morristown Residents
The pioneering partnership (Atlantic Health’s Morristown Medical Center Breakthrough Treatment Center with TGEN and Origin Commercial Ventures) enables groundbreaking novel research delivered to patients in the comfort and close proximity to home. Ms. O’Keefe notes “Most importantly, this partnership allows us to offer patients access to more clinical trials earlier in the onset, potentially giving them the stronger chance of remission as well as survival.” She continued “Our oncology program now offers approximately 70 clinical trials, including nine Phase 1 clinical trials, some of which are offered to only a handful of patients in the United States. We are product to be among them.”
Phase I Oncology Clinical Trials Becoming Part of Regular Health Care Access
Dr. Eric Whitman, the medical director at Morristown parent Atlantic Health System emphasized the trend that medical providers will routinely offer Phase I cancer clinical trials—that this will become a necessity more than a novelty.
He commented “Phase I drugs are revolutionizing cancer care” and that these drugs, in many cases, are on a fast-track from “lab to approval.” Its as if “You almost don’t need later-stage studies because some of these drugs work so well initially.” The FDA is approving them in record times in some cases.
The Future is the Community Setting and that Future is Now
Brian Gragnolati, CEO and president of Atlantic Health notes that many used to think that to access top clinical research one would need to head to New York City for example at major academic medical centers. Not anymore. The community hospitals, such as Morristown, increasingly compete with the renowned academic medical centers for two reasons including 1) they have the patients and 2) they can recruit the doctors to serve them.
Community Health Centers Need to Invest
The trend is undeniable and unstoppable—community health centers Gragnolati stressed, will need to continuously recruit the talent and invest in the infrastructure to accommodate the inevitable more to clinical research as a care movement especially as cancer in many cases transforms into what is, in essence, a chronic disease—based on all of the advanced investigational treatments that can extend lives for what in some cases can be decades.
Who is TGen and Origin Commercial Partner?
These two partnered with Morristown Medical Center to launch the Breakthrough Treatment Center. TGen is a non-profit genomics research institute based near Phoenix, Arizona. It seeks to employ genetic discoveries to improve disease outcomes by developing smarter diagnostics and targeted therapeutics. TGen joined forces with venerable cancer hospital and research center City of Hope.
Origin Commercial Ventures is a special kind of investor enabling scientists and entrepreneurs to develop new therapies. Their investments have led to over 500 clinical trials.
Follow the link to the source for the rest of the story authored by Tom Bergeron of ROI.
Call to Action: Do you live in the Morristown, New Jersey area? If so if you or loved one have any cancer diagnosis be sure to consider the new Morristown Medical Center Breakthrough Treatment Center.