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Atlantic Health System Cancer care enrolls first patient in Eastern US as part of groundbreaking non-Hodgkin lymphoma drug trial

Atlantic Health System one of only 11 sites nationwide recruiting patients

MORRISTOWN, NJ (Morris County) – Atlantic Health System Cancer Care is the only site on the east coast of the United States to enroll a patient in a new trial designed to test a groundbreaking approach to treating non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

The patient enrolled received their first dose of the medication last week and is only the 20th patient in the country to receive this novel treatment.

Developed by Caribou Biosciences, Inc., the medicine leverages chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy, the practice of using modified versions of the body’s own T-lymphocyte immune cells to find, target and destroy cancer cells.

However, unlike in traditional CAR T-cell therapies, where blood from the patient is withdrawn, then modified in a lab, and then infused back into the body, this medication is created using already donated blood, modified to match the patient, thus cutting down on the amount of time needed to prepare treatment and potentially resulting in a better match for the patient. The T-cells are modified using CRISPR genetic material editing technology.

The treatment is provided at Atlantic Health System’s Morristown Medical Center in the Carol G. Simon Cancer Center by Mohamad Cherry, MD, Medical Director, Hematology/Oncology and Medical Director, Atlantic Cellular Therapy Program, and in partnership with the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) of Phoenix, Arizona via the Breakthrough Oncology Accelerator, a pioneering research and clinical collaboration designed to improve patient access to the most innovative and sophisticated therapies for cancer.

“Recent years have seen remarkable advancements in the ability to treat cancers of all types, but the next step in the treatment of blood cancers such as non-Hodgkin lymphoma may well be the groundbreaking, customized care we are researching as part of this trial,” said Dr. Cherry. “The ability to enter patients into treatment faster and with greater efficacy would be a tremendous win for patients and the physicians committed to helping them on their healing journey.”

Atlantic Health System is already involved in a number of studies examining the amazing potential of CAR T-cell therapies treating leukemia and lymphoma.

“The Atlantic Health System Cancer Care team is committed to providing extraordinary care to every patient in a way that is specific to that particular patient,” said Eric D. Whitman, MD, Medical Director, Atlantic Health System Cancer Care and Director, Atlantic Melanoma Center. “This exciting study holds the potential to craft even more tailored and specific medications and we are proud to be part of it.”

This first-in-human trial involves non-Hodgkin lymphoma patients for whom initial treatment was unsuccessful or are experiencing a return of the disease. You can learn more about the study at the National Institutes of Health website for clinical trials.

To learn more about the research underway in cancer care and other specialties, visit the Atlantic Health System website.

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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