Theurer Cancer Center expands to HOPE Tower at Jersey Shore University Medical Center

CEO Garrett said it’s another way HMH is bringing top care to Jerseyans closer to their homes

Hackensack Meridian Health CEO Bob Garrett likes to rattle off all the advanced care and treatment options that are coming to Central and Southern New Jersey, following the announcement Monday night that Hackensack’s John Theurer Cancer Center is expanding to HOPE Tower at Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune.

There’s more research and trials – items that will help make an already strong cancer center stronger, he said.

Then there’s the ability to do bone marrow transplants, something that most cancer centers don’t offer but the Theurer center has mastered, performing more than 6,500 transplants, making it one of the largest such centers in the country.

And there’s CAR T-cell therapy, in lymphoma, leukemia and myeloma – something Garrett feels could be the biggest breakthrough in cancer treatment in a generation.

“This is a really big deal,” he said. “We talk about game-changers; this one really is.”

Of course, for Garrett and HMH, it all comes back to the patient. That’s the most significant aspect of the announcement, he said.

“People don’t always realize, some of these cancer trials can take months and often years,” he said. “Sure, people would be willing to drive a great distance to get the latest treatment they need – but wouldn’t it be better if they didn’t have to.

“That’s why this is so significant; it’s bringing care where it needs to be.”

Garrett said the new location will give patients not only in Central and South Jersey but also those in Philadelphia and Delaware access to this expertise.

“This expansion of extraordinary, personalized cancer care to HOPE Tower helps us live our mission to transform healthcare and to be the leader of positive change,’’ he said.

Dr. Andre Goy, the HMH physician in chief in oncology and chairman of John Theurer Cancer Center, said being able to expand the geographic reach of services is key to the fight against cancer.

“Given the rapid acceleration in cancer, this could not be a better time to bring the benefit of innovation closer to patients’ homes,” he said. “Having our experts rotate at JSUMC in the HOPE Tower, will bring expertise, access to trials or cell therapy, when needed across our communities in Southern New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware.”

“Together, partnering locally with our colleagues’ oncologists, we will expand access to tertiary and quaternary care and improve our patients’ outcome across the state of New Jersey,” he said.

The Jersey Shore University Medical Center site will offer comprehensive medical and surgical oncology/hematology consultative services by national experts for all types and stages of cancer and serious blood disorders. The facility will provide full infusion services, genomics analysis, and access to cutting-edge clinical trials.

HMH officials say all care will be provided in accordance with John Theurer quality standards and protocols.

Dr. Kenneth Sable, the HMH regional president for the southern market, was thrilled by the announcement.

“As we bring JTCC to HOPE Tower at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, we know that our patients will have even more access to a world-renowned teaching facility that is widely recognized for its comprehensive patient care, research, and education programs,” he said.

“Whether a patient needs a second opinion consultation, or is a candidate for cell therapy, immunotherapy or novel and experimental agents, that patient can directly benefit from the expertise of some of the world’s leading experts in cancer care and research, expertise that is now available locally as well as for nearby states.”

For those in the state of New Jersey, Garrett feels it’s yet another example of how residents do not need to cross state lines.

“This is something I feel very passionately about,” he said. “There is no reason why these types of advanced services and procedures can’t be offered within the state. It’s a shame that so many people still have to leave the state for cancer treatment or for behavioral health care or cardiac treatment, you name it. There’s no reason for it.”

“That’s why this is so significant, it meets our objective to provide the best possible care, the best possible treatment and the best possible clinical trials research right here in the state of New Jersey.”