Newswise — New Brunswick, N.J., December 19, 2017 – Further enhancing a commitment to cutting-edge clinical research efforts, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and RWJBarnabas Health are welcoming Howard S. Hochster, MD, an internationally recognized leader in the development of cancer clinical trials, gastrointestinal oncology and early phase cancer drugs.  When he arrives in January, Dr. Hochster will assume the role of associate director for clinical research and chief of gastrointestinal medical oncology at Rutgers Cancer Institute, as well as director of cancer clinical research for oncology services at RWJBarnabas Health.  

Hochster, who is awaiting appointment as a distinguished professor of medicine in the Division of Medical Oncology at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, was most recently on the faculty at the Yale Cancer Center and the Yale School of Medicine, where he served as a professor of medicine, associate director for clinical sciences and the disease aligned research team leader for the Gastrointestinal Cancers Program. He also served as a clinical program leader for the Gastrointestinal Cancers Program at Smilow Cancer Hospital.

In his new roles, Hochster will oversee clinical research activities, which include therapeutic cancer clinical trials offered at Rutgers Cancer Institute and throughout the RWJBarnabas Health system. Measuring and analyzing the impact of newly approved and investigational drugs on patient outcomes is part of this ‘bench-to-bedside-and-back’ exploration through Rutgers Cancer Institute’s Clinical Trials Program. Increasing patient access to clinical trials, encouraging additional investigator-initiated clinical trials, as well as facilitating funding and improving programmatic support for these protocols also will be part of his responsibilities. Hochster, whose most recent clinical trials work involves the investigation of a class of immunotherapy drugs known as checkpoint inhibitors in gastrointestinal cancers, has decades of clinical trial experience and has collaborated with national cooperative groups, as well as the National Cancer Institute (NCI).  He is chair of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Committee of SWOG, one of the four NCI-funded national clinical trials cooperative groups in the National Clinical Trials Network. His work has long been supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other funders.

“Dr. Hochster’s vast experience within highly recognized hospital systems and cancer centers in the Northeast region will enhance the ability of Rutgers Cancer Institute and RWJBarnabas Health to develop today’s scientific discoveries into tomorrow’s cancer treatments.  This level of expertise is critical for Rutgers Cancer Institute as the state’s only NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in improving the infrastructure for clinical research expansion across the hospitals of the RWJBarnabas Health system,” notes Rutgers Cancer Institute Director and Senior Vice President of Oncology Services for RWJBarnabas Health Steven K. Libutti, MD, FACS, who is also vice chancellor for cancer programs for Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences.

“I feel privileged to join the team-science environment at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and RWJBarnabas Health where we will continue to improve clinical outcomes and quality of life for patients in New Jersey and across the globe.  I have been on the front lines of developing cancer therapies for nearly three decades, and I am passionately dedicated to joining Rutgers Cancer Institute investigators in bringing state-of-the-art clinical trials to all the hospitals of RWJBarnabas system and to the people of the Garden State,” adds Hochster.

Prior to his time at Yale, Hochster spent more than two decades at the former New York University Cancer Institute, where he led the Office of Clinical Trials and Developmental Therapeutics and held other leadership roles.  He has provided peer review expertise to the NIH Clinical Oncology Study Section for a number of years, as well as to other areas of the NIH and other organizations such as Cancer Research UK and the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT).  

After receiving undergraduate and graduate degrees at Yale University and his medical degree from Yale School of Medicine, Hochster completed an internship and residency at Bellevue Hospital/New York University School of Medicine followed by fellowships at the New York University School of Medicine and the Institut Jules Bordet in Belgium. He is a medical director of the Chemotherapy Foundation and was president of the New York Cancer Society from 2004 to 2006. Hochster is also a member of numerous oncology professional societies.

Hochster is an associate editor of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, an editorial board member of Gastrointestinal Oncology and Current Colorectal Cancer Reports, and also serves as an ad hoc reviewer to numerous other journals, including the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Cancer and the British Medical Journal. He has published more than 150 articles in peer-reviewed journals and presents regularly at national and international professional meetings.


About Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey

Rutgers Cancer Institute, along with its partner RWJBarnabas Health, offers the most advanced cancer treatment options including clinical trials and novel therapeutics such as precision medicine and immunotherapy – many of which are not available at other facilities across the state.  Patients have access to these cutting-edge therapies throughout the state at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey in New Brunswick, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey at University Hospital in Newark, as well as at RWJBarnabas Health.  

Along with world-class treatment, which is often fueled by on-site research conducted in Rutgers Cancer Institute laboratories, patients and their families also can seek cancer preventative services and education resources throughout the Rutgers Cancer Institute and RWJBarnabas Health footprint statewide. To make a tax-deductible gift to support the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, call 848-932-8013 or visit Follow us on Facebook at

About RWJBarnabas Health

RWJBarnabas Health is the largest, most comprehensive health care system in New Jersey, with a service area covering nine counties with five million people. The system includes eleven acute care hospitals – Clara Maass Medical Center in Belleville, Community Medical Center in Toms River, Jersey City Medical Center in Jersey City, Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch, Monmouth Medical Center Southern Campus in Lakewood, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, RWJUH  in New Brunswick, RWJUH  Somerset in Somerville, RWJUH  Hamilton, RWJUH Rahway and Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston; three acute care children’s hospitals and a leading pediatric rehabilitation hospital with a network of outpatient centers (Children’s Specialized Hospital) with its multiple outpatient centers, a freestanding 100-bed behavioral health center, two trauma centers, a satellite emergency department, ambulatory care centers, geriatric centers, the state’s largest behavioral health network, comprehensive home care and hospice programs, fitness and wellness centers, retail pharmacy services, a medical group, multi-site imaging centers and two accountable care organizations. 

RWJBarnabas Health is New Jersey’s largest private employer – with more than 33,000 employees, 9,000 physicians and 1,000 residents and interns – and routinely captures national awards for outstanding quality and safety. RWJBarnabas Health recently announced a partnership with Rutgers University to create New Jersey’s largest academic health care system.   The collaboration will align RWJBarnabas Health with Rutgers’ education, research and clinical activities, including those at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care.


Additional Contact:

Carrie Cristello

Director of Media Relations

RWJBarnabas Health


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