Georgetown Lombardi and John Theurer Cancer Center Launch Transformational Collaboration to Advance Cancer Research

Posted in News Release

Organizations working on a multi-year plan to form a National Cancer Institute recognized cancer consortium

WASHINGTON and HACKENSACK, N.J. (July 15, 2015) — Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center (new window), part of Georgetown University Medical Center (new window) in Washington, and John Theurer Cancer Center, part of Hackensack University Medical Center (new window) in Hackensack, N.J., today announced that they have developed a joint cancer research agenda as part of a multi-year plan to form a National Cancer Institute (NCI) recognized cancer consortium. This recognition would support the scientific excellence of the two centers along with their capability to integrate multi-disciplinary, collaborative research approaches to focus on all the aspects of cancer. 

The research framework for this unique collaboration is designed to significantly expand the ability of the institutions to conduct research that will lead to innovative clinical trials and improvement in cancer care. One of the joint research projects is focused on therapies that harness the tumor-killing power of the immune system to help patients fight cancer. Georgetown Lombardi is an NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center, the only one in Washington and one of 41 in the country. Through the partnership, John Theurer Cancer Center is working to secure this NCI designation as well.

“Advancing cancer care requires teams of clinicians and researchers, as well as the participation of patients, to reach this common goal. Our view is that combining the strengths of both of these institutions significantly magnifies the progress that can be made,” said Louis M. Weiner, MD, director of Georgetown Lombardi.

“Hackensack University Medical Center has always focused on excellence in patient care and investing in research and technology for the future,” said Robert C. Garrett, president and chief executive officer of Hackensack University Health Network. “For this partnership, we are combining our strength in clinical care with Georgetown Lombardi’s strong research base that significantly contributes to its clinical excellence. By working together, we will elevate our cancer research to offer more treatment options for tomorrow’s patients.”

Among the collaborative projects that have been identified are:

  • Blood stem cell transplantation and immunotherapy clinical research at Washington DC’s only Blood and Marrow Stem Cell Transplant Program, established in 2013 by John Theurer and MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, Georgetown Lombardi’s clinical partner. 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.
  • Experimental therapeutic research that investigates patient treatment based on molecular characterization of tumors including through next generation genomic sequencing. This research will utilize the Clinical Outcomes Tracking & Analysis Platform (COTA) (, a large cancer patient treatment and outcomes database developed by John Theurer Cancer Center to sort patients, reduce variance (hence costs) and improve outcomes. This project will help the design and execution of phase I/II clinical trials by targeting relevant populations (i.e., providing a molecular rationale for clinical trials).
  • Population Science Research that expands existing programs focused on the unique characteristics of patients living in the greater Washington and the northern New Jersey areas. The John Theurer Cancer Center will establish a Cancer Prevention and Control office and Georgetown Lombardi will expand its population science research using the COTA database platform.

“These are areas in which each institution already excels. Combining such expertise will be fruitful, not to mention exciting,” Weiner said.

“Our teams have collaborated to identify specific joint research projects we feel are of the utmost importance and significance in cancer care. We are excited for the research to begin and look forward to the developments to come,” said Andrew Pecora, MD, FACP, CPE, vice president, Cancer Services and chief innovations officer at John Theurer Cancer Center and president of Regional Cancer Care Associates (RCCA).

“Together our institutions carry a tremendous opportunity to be transformative for our cancer patients population and beyond,” added André Goy, MD, MS, chairman and director and division chief of Lymphoma, John Theurer Cancer Center; chief science officer and director of Research and Innovation, RCCA; professor of medicine, Georgetown University. “The timing of this joint effort could not be better given the definitely revolutionary changes occurring in cancer care. The chosen founding projects are well positioned to take advantage of the synergy between our institutions and illustrate our commitment to discovering better care for the future.”

About Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center
The Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of Georgetown University Medical Center and Georgetown University Hospital, seeks to improve the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of cancer through innovative basic and clinical research, patient care, community education and outreach, and the training of cancer specialists of the future. Lombardi is one of only 41 comprehensive cancer centers in the nation, as designated by the National Cancer Institute, and the only one in the Washington, DC, area. For more information, go to

About Georgetown University Medical Center
Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) is an internationally recognized academic medical center with a three-part mission of research, teaching and patient care (through MedStar Health). GUMC’s mission is carried out with a strong emphasis on public service and a dedication to the Catholic, Jesuit principle of cura personalis — or “care of the whole person.” The Medical Center includes the School of Medicine and the School of Nursing & Health Studies, both nationally ranked; Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, designated as a comprehensive cancer center by the National Cancer Institute; and the Biomedical Graduate Research Organization, which accounts for the majority of externally funded research at GUMC including a Clinical and Translational Science Award from the National Institutes of Health.

About John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center
John Theurer Cancer Center at HackensackUMC is among the nation’s top 50 U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals for cancer – the highest-ranked in New Jersey with this designation. It is New Jersey’s largest and most comprehensive cancer center dedicated to the diagnosis, treatment, management, research, screenings, preventive care, as well as survivorship of patients with all types of cancer.

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. The 14 specialized divisions feature a team of medical, research, nursing, and support staff with specialized expertise that translates into more advanced, focused care for all patients. The John Theurer Cancer Center provides comprehensive multidisciplinary care, state of the art technology, access to clinical trials, compassionate care and medical expertise—all under one roof. Physicians at the John Theurer Cancer Center are members of Regional Cancer Care Associates one of the nation’s largest professional hematology/oncology groups. For more information please visit

About Hackensack University Health Network
Hackensack University Health Network is the New Jersey-based parent company of HackensackUMC, the HackensackUMC Foundation, Hackensack University Medical Group, and corporate joint venture partners with LHP Hospital Group in ownership of two hospitals: HackensackUMC at Pascack Valley and HackensackUMC Mountainside. In April 2015, HackensackUHN welcomed Palisades Medical Center as a full member of the Network, marked by the execution of a definitive agreement. Together with six other health systems, the Network is part of the nation’s largest healthcare consortium of its kind, AllSpire Health Partners; with a total of 28 hospitals and service area of more than six million people. HackensackUHN also enjoys clinical and academic affiliations with some of the nation’s most well-renowned health systems, hospitals and universities, including: CentraState Healthcare System, CityMD, Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, Seton Hall University, Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center, MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, MinuteClinic, NYU Langone Medical Center’s Division of Pediatric Surgery, Palisades Medical Center, Rutgers Medical School, St. George’s University, and Stevens Institute of Technology. With more than 10,800 employees, 3,300 credentialed medical staff members and 1,717 hospital and nursing home beds at hospitals within the Network, Hackensack University Health Network is one of the largest healthcare systems in New Jersey.