National Cancer Institute Renews Prestigious Designation of MedStar Health's Research Partner, Georgetown Lombardi | MedStar Health

National Cancer Institute Renews Prestigious Designation of MedStar Health's Research Partner, Georgetown Lombardi

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Doctors from MedStar Health talk with a patient and her husband.

(Columbia, MD) – MedStar Health is proud to announce that the National Cancer Institute (NCI) designation of Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center as a “comprehensive cancer center.” Georgetown Lombardi serves as the research engine of the MedStar Georgetown Cancer Institute, which combines medical expertise, the latest therapies, and research across the region. MedStar Georgetown University Hospital and MedStar Washington Hospital Center are hospital affiliates of Georgetown Lombardi.

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“At MedStar Georgetown Cancer Institute, we have so many great hospitals, experts, and scientists working together with a central mission of conquering cancer,” says Dr. Louis M. Weiner, director, MedStar Georgetown Cancer Institute and Georgetown Lombardi. “This further expands our oncology footprint across the Baltimore/Washington region so, whenever possible, our patients can be treated close to home. If their cancer requires complex, highly-coordinated multidisciplinary care, we have that available as well. Most importantly, if they would benefit from a clinical trial, we can offer that through Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. Through these partnerships, we can provide tomorrow’s treatments today across all the communities we serve that, in many cases, are lifesaving.”

First awarded to Georgetown Lombardi in 1974, MedStar Georgetown University Hospital serves as the cancer center’s primary hospital affiliate and clinical partner.   In order to achieve its NCI designation status, in 2018, the cancer program went through a rigorous, peer-reviewed grant renewal process conducted by cancer center experts from across the country. The renewal occurs every three to five years.

M. Joy Drass, MD, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of MedStar Health, says “As the clinical partner for Georgetown Lombardi, our patients receive personalized care from physicians who are also, through innovative clinical trial research, offering breakthrough advancements in diagnostics, new technologies, and novel therapeutics. Our long-standing partnership provides patients with unparalleled access to a multidisciplinary team of experts, clinicians, and researchers who are leading the way in how cancer is detected and treated.”

The NCI approved Georgetown Lombardi as a “consortium center” reflecting an integrated cancer research program with John Theurer Cancer Center, part of Hackensack Meridian Health in New Jersey. MedStar Georgetown, Georgetown Lombardi, and John Theurer began their clinical and research relationship in 2013 through which the Bone Marrow and Blood Stem Cell Transplant Program at MedStar Georgetown was established.

“Our research relationship with John Theurer Cancer Center has deepened our work in the key major areas of basic research, clinical research, population science, community outreach and engagement, and cancer research career enhancement,” says Dr. Weiner.  “The combination of this deepening research partnership in New Jersey, along with the excellent clinical care provided by our outstanding clinical partner, MedStar Health, expands the impact our cancer center has on science and delivery of cancer care.”

In addition to expanding its impact to the north, the cancer center’s long established clinical relationship with MedStar Health has deepened its reach in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and led to the creation of the MedStar Georgetown Cancer Institute, directed by Weiner. Georgetown Lombardi serves as its research engine enabling the execution of more clinical research at six MedStar Health entities across the Baltimore/Washington region.

The NCI designation as a comprehensive cancer center indicates that Georgetown Lombardi excels in laboratory science, clinical research and population-based programs, along with robust translational research that connects these areas. It also demonstrates expansive public education and outreach capabilities, which focus on the community.

The populations in Washington, D.C., and in Bergen County, New Jersey, where the John Theurer Cancer Center is located have some of the highest cancer incidence and death rates in the country. Georgetown Lombardi researchers are working on new ways to address the underlying causes so that strategies to address these health disparities can be implemented and refined through outreach and education.