Rutgers Cancer Institute redesignated as Comprehensive Cancer Center

From Left to Right: Jack Morris, chair of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Board of Trustees; Mark E. Manigan President and CEO, RWJBarnabas Health; Governor Phil Murphy, State of New Jersey; Steven K. Libutti, MD, FACS Director, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, Senior Vice President, Oncology Services, RWJBarnabas Health and Jonathan Holloway President, Rutgers University.

Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, together with RWJBarnabas Health, was redesignated by the National Cancer Institute, placing it among the top cancer centers reviewed in 2023, according to a Tuesday announcement from the New Brunswick-based health facility.

The prestigious designation from the NCI, held by only 56 such centers across the nation, is granted competitively to institutions characterized by the highest level of scientific excellence in cancer research and the ability to translate research discoveries into novel treatments.

“For decades, Rutgers Cancer Institute has been a lifeline for those battling the cruel and relentless disease of cancer. Through pioneering clinical trials and cutting-edge research, Rutgers Cancer Institute has evolved our understanding of this disease and helped countless families overcome devastating diagnoses,” Gov. Phil Murphy said. “This redesignation is a testament to their work to advance the fight against cancer. I am proud that New Jersey continues to foster innovation, and that we are home to a facility that works every day to improve cancer prevention and care for our residents.”

In its comprehensive review, the NCI recognized the institute’s innovative, paradigm-changing research, the impact on the relevant needs of the New Jersey population, notable community outreach, education and engagement efforts and strong integration with its research consortium partner, Princeton University.

This redesignation ensures that Rutgers Cancer Institute maintains its “Comprehensive Cancer Center” status to support the continuation of outstanding world-class research and comprehensive care.

“The awarding of this grant and redesignation by the NCI reaffirms the value Rutgers Cancer Institute provides to our state through research, treatment, prevention and education, and our commitment to providing integrated, cutting-edge cancer care to those in New Jersey and beyond,” said Rutgers Cancer Institute Director Dr. Steven Libutti, who is also the senior vice president of oncology services at RWJBarnabas Health. “Our continued dedication to excellence as recognized by the NCI also means that Rutgers Cancer Institute and RWJBarnabas Health are well positioned to continue delivering on our mission as we prepare for the opening of the Jack and Sheryl Morris Cancer Center in 2025, which will further propel us into the future of cancer discovery and care.”

“Thanks to this important redesignation, the institute will receive millions of dollars in federal funding to ensure Rutgers remains a national leader in cancer research and can develop new tools to better prevent, diagnose and treat this terrible disease. In Congress, I will continue to be a vocal supporter of the federal research funding that is critical to the mission of Rutgers Cancer Institute,” U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone (D-6th Dist.) said.

“This incredible achievement underscores the partnership between RWJBarnabas Health and Rutgers Cancer Institute and our shared commitment to provide our patients and communities with access to world-class physicians, clinical trials and services that are transforming cancer care in New Jersey,” RWJBarnabas Health CEO and President Mark Manigan noted. “Rutgers Cancer Institute, together with RWJBarnabas Health, has never been better-positioned to impact the field of cancer than it is today.”

Aiming to address the cancer burden that impacts New Jersey and beyond, Rutgers Cancer Institute collaborates with Princeton as part of a research consortium. As a result of this relationship, the Ludwig Princeton Branch of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research at Princeton University was established for the study of cancer metabolism and the translation of discoveries into clinical trials and novel therapies for patients.

“Through Princeton University’s role as a consortium partner with Rutgers Cancer Institute, innovative basic and clinical cancer research discoveries that further our understanding of the underlying mechanisms of cancer are being made every day,” Princeton University Dean for Research Peter Schiffer said. “Princeton is dedicated to advancing such critical work.”