John Theurer Cancer Center Investigators Celebrate Newly Approved Lymphoma Therapies Evaluated in Clinical Trials at Hackensack Meridian Hackensack University Medical Center

HACKENSACK, N.J., April 5, 2021 — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved two new treatment approaches for certain types of non-Hodgkin lymphomas which were assessed in pioneering clinical trials at John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack Meridian Hackensack University Medical Center: umbralisib and CAR T-cell therapy. 

Umbralisib (Ukoniq™) was approved on February 5 for patients with marginal zone lymphoma or follicular lymphoma whose cancer came back or continued to grow despite prior treatment. It works by blocking multiple enzymes involved in cancer growth. It is very convenient for patients because it is a tablet that can be taken by mouth. 

CAR T-cell therapy with axicabtagene ciloleucel (Yescarta®) was approved on March 5 for use in patients with follicular lymphoma that persists or came back after two or more prior therapies. With CAR T-cell therapy, immune cells called T cells are removed from the patient, genetically modified in the laboratory to recognize certain targets and attack cancer cells, grown to larger quantities (hundreds of millions), and returned to the patient—where these modified T cells can now find, bind to, and kill cancer cells. The treatment is given intravenously in the hospital like a transfusion. 

Physicians in the Lymphoma Division at John Theurer Cancer Center have been at the forefront of the development of many novel therapies for lymphoma. Lori Leslie, M.D., director of the Indolent Lymphoma and Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia programs at John Theurer Cancer Center, is the principal investigator at Hackensack Meridian Hackensack University Medical Center for the UNITY-NHL clinical trial of umbralisib in marginal zone and follicular lymphoma as well as the ZUMA-5 clinical trial of axicabtagene ciloleucel in patients with follicular lymphoma. The findings of these two studies led to the recent FDA approvals. 

Said Dr. Leslie, “We are very excited to be able to offer patients with these challenging cancers additional treatment options with the potential to improve their outcomes and extend their lives.” 

“The treatment of non-Hodgkin lymphomas is a rapidly transforming field, offering new and needed options in patients who failed standard therapies,” said Andre Goy, M.D., Chairman & Executive Director, Lymphoma Division Chief – John Theurer Cancer Center, Chief Science Officer – RCCA, Lydia Pfund Chair for Lymphoma, Professor of Medicine – Georgetown University, Professor and Chair, Dept. of Oncology, Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine. “JTCC broad clinical research program has allowed us to be at the forefront of these new developments and our CAR T cell program was the 1st implemented in NJ and remains the lead CART program in the state with trials in lymphoma, myeloma, leukemia and now even solid tumors”.

 

ABOUT HACKENSACK MERIDIAN HACKENSACK UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER

Hackensack University Medical Center, a 771-bed nonprofit teaching and research hospital, is the largest provider of inpatient and outpatient services in New Jersey. Founded in 1888 as Bergen County’s first hospital, it was the first hospital in New Jersey and second in the nation to become a Magnet®-recognized hospital for nursing excellence. The academic flagship of Hackensack Meridian Health, Hackensack University Medical Center’s campus is home to facilities such as John Theurer Cancer Center, the Heart & Vascular Hospital, and the Sarkis and Siran Gabrellian Women’s and Children’s Pavilion. Recognized as being in the top 1% of hospitals in the nation and #2 in New Jersey by U.S. News & World Report’s 2020-21 “Best Hospitals” Honor Roll, Hackensack University Medical Center also ranked as high-performing in cancer care, cardiology and heart surgery, gastroenterology and GI surgery, geriatrics, nephrology, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopedics, pulmonology, and urology. Hackensack University Medical Center’s comprehensive clinical research portfolio includes studies focused on precision medicine, translational medicine, immunotherapy, cell therapy, and vaccine development.

 

About John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center

John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center is the premier and best cancer program in NJ. It is also the largest and most comprehensive center dedicated to the diagnosis, treatment, management, research, screenings, and preventive care as well as survivorship of patients with all types of cancers. The 16 specialized divisions covering the complete spectrum of cancer care have developed a close-knit team of medical, research, nursing, and support staff with specialized expertise that translates into more advanced, focused care for all patients. Each year, more people in the New Jersey/New York metropolitan area turn to John Theurer Cancer Center for cancer care than to any other facility in New Jersey. John Theurer Cancer Center, part of Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, an NCI designated comprehensive cancer center. Housed within a 775-bed not-for-profit teaching, tertiary care, and research hospital, John Theurer Cancer Center provides state-of-the-art technological advances, compassionate care, research innovations, medical expertise, and a full range of aftercare services that distinguish John Theurer Cancer Center from other facilities. For additional information, please visit www.jtcancercenter.org.