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Atlantic Health System announces specialized center to treat blood cancer patients

Beckman Advanced Cellular Therapy Unit at Morristown Medical Center enabled with gift from Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation

MORRISTOWN, NJ (Morris County) – Patients undergoing intensive chemotherapy or immunotherapy for the treatment of blood cancers are particularly vulnerable to treatment-related side effects and require heightened monitoring and management.

Atlantic Health System Wednesday announced the creation of the Beckman Advanced Cellular Therapy Unit at Morristown Medical Center to help ensure the highest quality care and best outcomes for this complex patient population.

The unit is the latest advancement for the Atlantic Cellular Therapy program at the Carol G. Simon Cancer Center, which currently sees more than 200 hematological cancer admissions annually, most of whom receive chemotherapy.

These patients often require multiple hospitalizations as part of their treatment plan, both for induction chemotherapy and for very specific management of their symptoms. During treatment, blood counts drop to very low levels, increasing the risk of life-threatening complications. The Beckman Advanced Cellular Therapy Unit is equipped with state-of-the-art hemodynamic monitoring technology and staffed with highly trained nurses to deliver the safest possible treatment.

“Atlantic Health System is proud to be at the leading edge of the latest, advanced science in the care of blood cancers including leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma, but caring for these patients requires a special combination of resources and expertise” Eric D. Whitman, MD, System Medical Director, Atlantic Health System Cancer Care and Director, Atlantic Melanoma Center. “Through the creation of the Beckman Advanced Cellular Therapy Unit, Morristown Medical Center joins an elite level of hospitals providing this potentially lifesaving care.”

Apartnership with the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) of Phoenix, Arizona via the Breakthrough Oncology Accelerator, Atlantic Health offers patients access to innovative clinical trials for immunotherapies including the use of Chimeric Antigen Receptor T Cells (CAR-T) and Tumor Infiltrating Lymphocytes (TIL).

The Beckman Advanced Cellular Therapy Unit will safely expand access to these therapies. Occasionally, patients receiving CAR-T and other therapies will experience a side effect called cytokine release syndrome (CRS), an overly aggressive immune response from the body to the medication. The Beckman Advanced Cellular Therapy Unit is designed to optimally manage these patients through specialized monitoring equipment, enabling the dedicated care team to respond immediately.

“The Atlantic Cellular Therapy program is committed to providing our patients with the safest possible access to the latest advancements in clinical care and the Beckman Advanced Cellular Therapy Unit is a powerful step forward in fulfilling that commitment,” said Mohamad Cherry, MD, Medical Director, Hematology/Oncology and Medical Director, Atlantic Cellular Therapy Program. “It also helps drive the science of expanding these treatments to new cancers and we are incredibly proud to be at the forefront of this work on behalf of cancer patients worldwide.”

The Beckman Advanced Cellular Therapy Unit at Morristown Medical Center was made possible in part through support from Foundation for Morristown Medical Center donors, including a generous $1 million grant from the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation in honor of J. Peter Simon for his service on the Beckman Foundation Board of Trustees.

Simon is also a member of the Board of Trustees for the Foundation for Morristown Medical Center and co-chair of the William E. Simon Foundation.

“We are pleased to contribute to the new unit to recognize the exemplary service of our board member, Mr. J. Peter Simon,” said Anne Hultgren, PhD, executive director for the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation. “Advancing research that can lead to cures and therapies for disease is core to our mission, and we hope that the new research studies and improvements in patient care that will be possible because of the Beckman Advanced Cellular Therapy Unit will bring us closer to the goal of curing cancer for everyone.”

Visit the Atlantic Health System website to learn more about the exciting research underway in cancer care and other specialties.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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