Monmouth Medical Center and Champions Oncology to Offer Groundbreaking Breast Cancer Research Trial

Long Branch, NJ – November 15, 2013 – Monmouth Medical Center has joined with Champions Oncology to launch a research clinical trial aimed at developing personalized approaches to improve breast-cancer treatment.

Monmouth is the first site in New Jersey offering access to a groundbreaking research trial that will use a leading-edge treatment model called TumorGraft developed by Baltimore-based Champions Oncology. By removing a piece of a patient’s tumor and growing it in multiple mice, the trial seeks to better predict which drugs are most effective in treating individual tumors.

“All tumors are different – even those that appear the same – so drugs that work for some patients don’t work for others,” said Seth Cohen, M.D, Medical Director, Oncology Clinical Research at Monmouth Medical Center. “This trial is very exciting because it will potentially enable patients to get the most effective medications for their particular type of tumor, and more lives will be saved.”

Trial participants receive the TumorGraft testing – which could cost thousands of dollars – for free, and potentially identify the most effective treatment for their cancer. This model is a form of personalized medicine – initiatives that identify the most effective treatments for individual people. Eligible participants will be able to enroll in the trial through Monmouth Medical Center beginning end of November.

“This trial will help improve cancer care both by better predicting existing drugs’ effectiveness and by potentially identifying which patients will best respond to new cancer drugs and care regimens,” said Jennifer Isler, PhD., Senior Medical Science Liaison, Champions Oncology.

Upon being selected for inclusion in the trial, the patient’s surgeon will remove a small piece of the tumor during the scheduled surgery at Monmouth Medical Center. Champions Oncology will transplant fragments of the tumor into immune-deficient mice. The tumors that grow in the mice are almost identical to the original human tumor. Champions will treat the tumors in different mice with different medications and determine which treatments are most effective against the particular patient’s tumor. The TumorGraft process – from implantation in the mice through testing – typically takes four to eight months. While you are waiting for the possible results of the TumorGrafting, you will continue to receive standard medical treatment from your physician.

To be eligible for the trial, patients must require surgical removal of a malignant breast tumor as part of their standard treatment. Patients must also meet at least one of the following criteria :

  • Breast cancer that has spread (metastasized) to a different part of the body.
  • The tumor initially tested negative for ER, PR, and HER2 (Estrogen receptors, progesterone receptors, and the protein HER2 that controls cancer growth and spread. Estrogen and progesterone receptors are found in breast-cancer cells that depend on estrogen and related hormones to grow. These tumor features may change between primary tumors and metastatic tumors.)
  • The tumor initially tested positive for HER2.
  • The tumor was treated with chemotherapy prior to surgery and remains malignant.

“This partnership is part of Monmouth Medical Center’s continuing commitment to be on the forefront of cancer care. We look forward to helping patients both locally and globally through this important research,” said Dr. Cohen.

For more information on the trial or to apply to participate, contact Kimberly Chow at the Leon Hess Cancer Center’s Oncology Clinical Research Program, 732-923-6564.

About Monmouth Medical Center
Located in Long Branch, N.J. Monmouth Medical Center, a Barnabas Health facility, along with The Children’s Hospital at Monmouth Medical Center, is one of New Jersey’s largest academic medical centers and has been a teaching affiliate of Philadelphia’s Drexel University College of Medicine for more than 40 years. From its earliest days, Monmouth Medical Center has been a leader in surgical advancement and has introduced many technological firsts to the region, including robotic surgery and other minimally invasive techniques. The hospital is routinely recognized by HealthGrades, the nation’s largest premier independent health care quality company, for excellence in both emergency medicine and maternity care. U.S. News & World Report has recognized Monmouth as a regional leader in cancer, geriatrics, gynecology, neurology and neurosurgery. For more information on Monmouth Medical Center, visit www.barnabashealth.org.