Newswise — The Hackensack University Medical Center Foundation has received a substantial donation from Celgene Corporation to advance multiple myeloma research and transformational medicine that improve patient outcomes at Hackensack Meridian Health - John Theurer Cancer Center. Supported by Celgene, a global biopharmaceutical leader in the discovery, development and delivery of treatment for diseases like multiple myeloma (MM), funds will help to establish the Multiple Myeloma Institute (MMI) – a leading-edge research facility at the Seton Hall-Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine scheduled to open in 2018.

Celgene and John Theurer Cancer Center are accomplished leaders in developing novel therapies for patients with multiple myeloma. Advances in science in the last decade have increased survival for patients from three to 10 years. The Multiple Myeloma Institute will represent a true “clinical laboratory” that will aid patients by harnessing real-world, real-time clinical data that advances care.

“We seek to transform the treatment of patients with multiple myeloma by integrating our enormous clinical expertise at John Theurer Cancer Center with ongoing basic and translational research,” said Robert C. Garrett, co-CEO, Hackensack Meridian Health. “It is now time to leverage our shared vision, talents, and accumulated knowledge and expertise into a comprehensive Institute – an integrated clinical laboratory, and population science-based research center – that will exponentially advance our fight against multiple myeloma and accelerate a cure.”

“We’ve developed a true ‘clinical laboratory’ at John Theurer Cancer Center, and in our network, together with translational science and the Multiple Myeloma Institute, we will facilitate discovery in the field – while also monitoring progress at the population level,” said Andrew Pecora, MD, chief innovation officer and President of Physician Enterprise at Hackensack Meridian Health.

“The Multiple Myeloma Institute provides a unique opportunity to redefine the best standards, particularly the best sequence of care to improve patient outcomes,’’ Dr. Pecora said. “This could have an impact at scale in the global multiple myeloma community.” 

“John Theurer Cancer Center has built one of the best multiple myeloma programs in the world. As one of the largest cohorts of patients, our team has led or has been involved in all novel therapy developments for multiple myeloma over the last two decades,” said André Goy, MD, MS, chairman and director, division chief of Lymphoma, John Theurer Cancer Center; chief science officer and director of Research and Innovation, RCCA; professor of medicine, Georgetown University. “Combining our clinical and research expertise, together with analytics and translational research at scale with thousands of multiple myeloma patients followed longitudinally, offers a unique platform for discovery. The Institute will continue to expand our mission for precision medicine in cancer including identifying the best sequence of care for each patient.”  

Led by David Siegel, MD, one of the world’s foremost experts in the field, the Multiple Myeloma Division at John Theurer Cancer Center currently treats one of the world’s largest cohorts of multiple myeloma patients. Siegel and his team have long collaborated with Celgene scientists and clinical researchers, together pioneering critical therapies to treat patients with multiple myeloma.

“The Multiple Myeloma Institute will benefit patients and their families, scientists, physicians and stakeholders, all stemming from the joint commitment to driving critical advances in cancer care, said Dr. Siegel.  “We are relentless in our pursuit to discover and develop new therapies for multiple myeloma that will change the course of disease and generate better outcomes for patients, healthcare and society.”

“Over the past decade, remarkable progress has been made developing and delivering new therapies and new treatment strategies for patients with multiple myeloma,” said Mark J. Alles, Chief Executive Officer of Celgene Corporation. “We are proud to support The Myeloma Institute at the John Theurer Cancer Center as they work to discover new insights into the underlying causes and optimal treatment pathways for this incurable disease”

John Theurer Cancer Center, also has a joint cancer research agenda with Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington 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.

ABOUT HACKENSACK MERIDIAN HEALTH Hackensack Meridian Health is a leading not-for-profit health care organization that is the most comprehensive and truly integrated health care network in New Jersey, offering a complete range of medical services, innovative research and life-enhancing care. Hackensack Meridian Health comprises 13 hospitals, including two academic medical centers, two children's hospitals and nine community hospitals, physician practices, more than 120 ambulatory care centers, surgery centers, home health services, long-term care and assisted living communities, ambulance services, lifesaving air medical transportation, fitness and wellness centers, rehabilitation centers, and urgent care and after-hours centers. Hackensack Meridian Health has 28,000 team members, more than 6,000 physicians and is a distinguished leader in health care philanthropy, committed to the health and well-being of the communities it serves.

The Network's notable distinctions include having one of only five major academic medical centers in the nation to receive Healthgrades America's 50 Best Hospitals Award for five or more consecutive years, the number one hospital in New Jersey as ranked by U.S. News and World Report, consistently achieving Magnet® recognition for nursing excellence from the American Nurses Credentialing Center, recipient of the John M. Eisenberg Award for Patient Safety and Quality from The Joint Commission and the National Quality Forum, a six-time recipient of Fortune's "100 Best Companies to Work For," one of the "20 Best Workplaces in Health Care" in the nation, and the number one "Best Place to Work for Women." Hackensack Meridian Health is a member of AllSpire Health Partners, an interstate consortium of leading health systems, to focus on the sharing of best practices in clinical care and achieving efficiencies.

The hospitals of Hackensack Meridian Health include: academic medical centers – Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune; children's hospitals – Joseph M. Sanzari Children's Hospital in Hackensack, K. Hovnanian Children's Hospital in Neptune; community hospitals – Ocean Medical Center in Brick, Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, Mountainside Medical Center in Montclair, Palisades Medical Center in North Bergen, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Perth Amboy, Southern Ocean Medical Center in Manahawkin, Bayshore Medical Center in Holmdel, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Old Bridge, and Pascack Valley Medical Center in Westwood.  For additional information, please visit