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Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Hackensack Meridian Health to partner on expansion of cancer research, treatment

Partnership will be guided in part by a 10-year strategy, and will also support Vice President Joe Biden's National Cancer Moonshot initiative.

Jeff Lagasse, Associate Editor

Memorial Sloan Kettering Basking Ridge, NJ facility-Photo by <a href="https://www.mskcc.org/locations/mskcc-basking-ridge"> Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center </a>Memorial Sloan Kettering Basking Ridge, NJ facility-Photo by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

The Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Hackensack Meridian Health, both based in New Jersey, have entered into a partnership that aims to speed the search for cures to cancer, and ensures that patients have access to individualized cancer care.

The systems will combine their respective research and cancer care expertise, while providing training to a new generation of leaders.

The partnership will be guided in part by a 10-year strategy, and will also support Vice President Joe Biden's National Cancer Moonshot initiative, which calls for cooperation among leading cancer centers to make more therapies available to more patients, while also improving the ability to prevent cancer and detect it at an early stage.

In a statement, Andrew Pecora, M.D., president of physician services and chief innovation officer of Hackensack Meridian Health, called it a "groundbreaking partnership."

[Also: JFK Health, Hackensack Meridian Health in New Jersey to merge, systems announce]

According to the American Cancer Society, New Jersey sees a higher rate of cancer than the national average. The partnership will try to address this trend by facilitating patient access to a number of treatments, including precision medicine, immunotherapy and cell-based therapies. Patient access to clinical trials is also expected to increase.

Each organization's existing sites of care in New Jersey -- including Hackensack Meridian Health's cancer care locations, the John Theurer Cancer Center at HackensackUMC, and Memorial Sloan Kettering's locations in Basking Ridge, Middletown and Montvale -- will be part of the partnership, but each organization will independently own, operate and manage these sites.

The initial stages of the partnership will involve developing joint standards of care to optimize clinical outcomes for every patient, as well as setting priorities for clinical research. Eventually, the two organizations will create a formal joint venture to own and operate new ambulatory care centers in areas of New Jersey they do not yet serve.

[Also: HackensackUMC teams with Uber, hopes to boost patient access to ride service]

As of today, the two organizations treat one in five New Jersey residents who are diagnosed with cancer. Combined, they will annually serve the most patients with cancer in the region, and many of their combined programs will be among the largest in the country.

The partnership will be overseen by an operating board comprised of representatives from each organization. That board will function with the advice of a formal clinical council, led by experts in all subtypes of cancer from Memorial Sloan Kettering, the John Theurer Cancer Center and Hackensack Meridian Health, as well as a formal executive advisory group with institutional leaders in key areas.

Twitter: @JELagasse

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