Newswise — New Brunswick, N.J., August 17, 2020 – Cancer patients throughout New Jersey have access to specialized care that may not be available elsewhere in the region. That is because Rutgers Cancer Institute is a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, a designation reserved for those cancer centers who meet the highest of standards in research, treatment, prevention and education. Rutgers Cancer Institute is the only such center in New Jersey and provides this level of care and research in partnership with RWJBarnabas Health. Working closely with our research consortium partner Princeton University we advance scientific discovery into cancer treatment, prevention and diagnosis. 

What is an NCI designation?

As part of the National Institute of Health, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) is the federal government's principal agency for cancer research and training. An NCI-designated cancer center means a cancer center has met standards for cancer prevention, clinical services, or research as determined by the NCI. A Comprehensive Cancer Center meets NCI standards in all three of those categories. Rutgers Cancer Institute has received a comprehensive designation, the highest level of designation given by the NCI. The NCI has determined through a competitive grant review process that Rutgers Cancer Institute has outstanding basic science that leads to new discoveries to help develop better therapies for cancer, and an exceptional clinical research infrastructure that allows cutting-edge clinical trials to be conducted along with a comprehensive approach to treatment for patients.

Does this distinction make a difference for patients?

Yes, this distinction translates into the best possible care for patients. When treated at an NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center like Rutgers Cancer Institute in collaboration with RWJBarnabas Health, patients have access to innovative clinical research, exceptional patient care and advanced technology. Additionally, a patient’s team may include various professionals that provide a range of services and resources to address all aspects of cancer. In addition to surgical, medical and radiation oncologists, this team may include oncology support specialists in the areas of social work, nutrition, nursing and pharmacy.

Why choose an NCI-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center?

Comprehensive Cancer Centers have the ability to translate scientific findings straight from the laboratory to the patient with the ability to tailor and personalize the resulting treatment. In many cases, innovative treatments and particular clinical trials are only available through NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers and their affiliates. Comprehensive Cancer Centers undergo a rigorous review every five to seven years in order to maintain their designation.

While Rutgers Cancer Institute has a responsibility to serve the people of New Jersey, our work has national and international reach, and we continually strive to advance our understanding of cancer and enhance treatments in collaboration with our partners and the greater cancer community.    

Learn more about the NCI designation:

Steven K. Libutti, MD, FACS, is the Director of Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, Senior Vice President, Oncology Services, RWJBarnabas Health, and Vice Chancellor, Cancer Programs, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences.

Register for reporter access to contact details