Official recognition: Rutgers Cancer Institute once again designated ‘Comprehensive Cancer Center’ by NCI

Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and RWJBarnabas Health have long known they provide exceptional cancer care. The National Cancer Institute made it official.

During its recently released redesignation by the NCI, Rutgers Cancer Institute scored in the “exceptional” range, placing it among the top cancer centers reviewed in 2023. The prestigious “Comprehensive Cancer Center” 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.

The reasons were plentiful, the NCI said in its comprehensive review, including:

  • The institute’s innovative, paradigm-changing research;
  • The impact on the relevant needs of the New Jersey population;
  • The notable community outreach, education and engagement efforts;
  • The 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 Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey is the state’s only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Rutgers Cancer Institute is the only Comprehensive Cancer Center recognized by the NCI in the state of New Jersey.

Dr. Steven Libutti, the director of Rutgers Cancer Institute and the senior vice president of oncology services at RWJBarnabas Health, was proud of the recognition.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

The Jack & Sheryl Morris Cancer Center, a 12-story, 510,000-square-foot facility that represents a major expansion of the Rutgers Cancer Institute, is being developed in partnership with the New Brunswick Development Corp.

The state-of-the art $750 million facility, which will allow cancer patients to get world-class treatment, is expected to be completed in early 2025.

Gov. Phil Murphy said the impact of Rutgers Cancer Institute cannot be overstated.

“For decades, Rutgers Cancer Institute has been a lifeline for those battling the cruel and relentless disease of cancer,” he said. “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.

“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.”

RWJBarnabas Health CEO and President Mark Manigan said Rutgers Cancer Institute represents a shared commitment to serve the state.

Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences Chancellor and Rutgers Executive Vice President for Health Affairs Brian Strom.

“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,” he said. “Rutgers Cancer Institute, together with RWJBarnabas Health, has never been better positioned to impact the field of cancer than it is today.”

This commitment is only increasing.

Aiming to address the cancer burden that impacts New Jersey and beyond, Rutgers Cancer Institute collaborates with Princeton as its NCI research consortium partner. This longstanding partnership provides continued opportunities for scientific collaboration and cooperative use of state-of-the-art shared resources.

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. Scientific advances in metastasis and genomics also have contributed to impactful clinical progress in areas such as precision medicine and immunotherapy.

Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences Chancellor and Rutgers Executive Vice President for Health Affairs Brian Strom said it’s all part of the comprehensive package of care and research that the Rutgers Cancer Institute provides.

“We are exceptionally proud of the NCI’s recognition of Rutgers Cancer Institute, highlighting its scientific leadership, exceptional research capabilities and leading cancer treatment,” he said. “Rutgers Cancer Institute serves a critical role in educating and training the next generation of diverse health care providers, and, with this redesignation, the institute will continue to advance our research and training missions.”