MORRISTOWN, NJ (Morris County) – Atlantic Health System Cancer Care has announce that Morristown Medical Center has been nationally recognized as an approved NPF Center of Excellence for the treatment of pancreatic cancer by the National Pancreas Foundation.
Morristown joins only 160 other Centers of Excellence throughout the nation. The NPF Center designation is given only to those hospitals and health care facilities that focus on multidisciplinary treatment of pancreas disease, treating the “whole patient” with a focus on the best possible outcomes and improved quality of life.
The pancreatic program at Morristown Medical Center offers a comprehensive approach to pancreatic cancer care including early detection (for individuals with high-risk criteria), active treatment, surveillance and survivorship, as well as palliative and end-of-life care.
“We are honored that Morristown Medical Center has been designated a NPF Center for treatment of pancreatic cancer,” said Angela T. Alistar, MD, Medical Director of GI medical oncology and of the Breakthrough Treatment Center at Morristown Medical Center. “This recognition sends a clear signal that our team is focused on providing the highest quality and innovative care possible, to patients with this challenging disease.”
High risk pancreatic cancer patients are enrolled in a specific program at Morristown Medical Center where they are monitored according to national guidelines. If pancreatic cysts are identified, patients are referred to an oncology surgeon and oncology research team for further evaluation to determine their eligibility to participate in a pancreatic cyst trial. Patients who are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer are managed in a multidisciplinary fashion.
“We are thrilled to expand our NPF Centers of Excellence Program to better serve the needs of patients suffering from pancreas disease,” said David Bakelman, CEO of the National Pancreas Foundation. “The NPF Centers of Excellence Program is one of the pillars of NPF, and we are looking forward to working with our current and new Centers.”
NPF Centers are awarded after a rigorous audit review to determine that an institution’s focus is on multidisciplinary treatment of pancreatic cancer, treating the “whole patient” with a focus on the best possible outcomes and an improved quality of life. An approved NPF Center must meet the criteria that were developed by a task force made up of invited subject matter experts and patient advocates.
The criteria include having the required expert physician specialties such as gastroenterologists, pancreas surgeons, and interventional radiologists, along with more patient focused programs such as a pain management service, psychosocial support and more.
Dr. Alistar is a renowned investigator with extensive expertise in researching and treating pancreatic cancer from designing, conducting and publishing clinical trials to developing an extensive and promising pancreatic program at Morristown since 2018.
Through Atlantic Health System’s collaboration with TGEN (Translational Genomics Research Institute), Atlantic Health System Cancer Care offers an extensive portfolio of early phase (1,2) clinical trials through the Breakthrough Oncology Treatment Center. This allows patients access to novel therapies while staying in their home community. This is critically important for patients who are not eligible for later phase (3-4) pancreatic specific clinical trials.
Atlantic Health System is also designated as a National Cancer Institute Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP) site, offering patients access to all cooperative group trials inclusive of supportive care trials. This exclusive designation makes Atlantic Health System one of 32 NCORP Community Sites in the country. As the first (and only) Community Site in New Jersey, the Atlantic Health Cancer Consortium Community Oncology Research Program (AHCC-CORP) is comprised of half a dozen of the state’s leading health care systems.
Over the last five years Atlantic Health System Cancer Care has participated in nine pancreatic specific clinical trials encompassing novel treatment modalities including intratumoral injections, subcutaneous administration of novel agents, metabolic interventions and medical food. Over the last five years Atlantic Health has enrolled approximately 110 patients with pancreatic cancer in treatment clinical trials.
“I congratulate Dr. Alistar and our entire GI medical oncology team for this remarkable honor,” said Eric D. Whitman, MD, Medical Director, Atlantic Health System Cancer Care and Director, Atlantic Melanoma Center. “Every day our amazing team of doctors, nurses and other caregivers take the time to listen to patients, and provide unique and personalized care, focused on their particular cancer journey.”
For more information about the National Pancreas Foundation, visit www.pancreasfoundation.org.