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Hackensack Meridian Children’s Health Children’s Cancer Institute is now a member of the Pacific Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Consortium (PNOC) – Network news, press releases

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August 11, 2021

Partners in the development of therapies for brain tumors

The Children’s Cancer Institute (CCI) is now a member of the Pacific Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Consortium (PNOC). ITC, whose pediatric cancer program is ranked among the best in the country by US News & World Report, joins an international group of consortium member hospitals in the United States, which include Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

“This is a very important recognition of the work being done by the pediatric cancer subspecialty teams at Hackensack Meridian Children’s Health,” said Judy Aschner, MD, chief medical officer, Hackensack Meridian Children’s Health. “This will ensure that we not only remain a force in innovative neuro-oncology research in New Jersey, but that we become global collaborators with other hospitals across the country and the world to advance the goal.” of PNOC to develop new therapies for children and young adults with brain tumors.

The Children’s Cancer Institute met the admission criteria because, like other participating hospitals, it has:

  • Specialists in different areas of pediatric brain tumor treatment – such as oncology, neurosurgery and radiotherapy – who combine their expertise to optimize the care of each patient;
  • Care teams made up of nurses, social workers, psychologists and hospital staff with in-depth knowledge of the needs of families and children with brain tumors;
  • Finally, each site has scientists actively engaged in laboratory research into pediatric tumor biology who work with clinicians to turn their findings into therapies.

Brain tumors are the most common solid tumors in children. The Pacific Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Consortium (PNOC) was formed to enable children with brain tumors to access innovative treatments through clinical trials. The clinical strategies underlying these trials are based on studying the molecular and genetic makeup of brain tumors.

“The PNOC is the leading pediatric neuro-oncology research group. This is a huge step forward for our program as it will essentially triple the number of brain tumor trials we offer and provide cutting edge individualized treatment to our patients based on the biology of their brain tumors ” said Derek Hanson, MD, section chief of pediatric neuro-oncology, Children’s Cancer Institute and director of research at Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital of Hackensack University Medical Center.

“Our involvement as a PNOC hospital site is tremendous,” said Mark Sparta, FACHE, hospital president and chief of Hackensack University Medical Center. “This will enable our Children’s Cancer Institute to provide the most cutting-edge treatments for children and their families. Patients will no longer have to leave the state for treatment.

“Membership in the Pacific Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Consortium takes our program to the next level,” said Ihor Sawczuk, MD, FACS, research director and chair of the network’s northern region. “This is an example of the doctors and researchers in the network pushing the boundaries of science for patients of all ages, to treat all conditions. “

News of consortium admission coincides with news that a pediatric neuro-oncology lab – the first of its kind in New Jersey – will soon open at Hackensack Meridian Health Discovery and innovation center (CDI.)

The lab of pediatric neurosurgeon Timothy Vogel, MD, Ph.D. and Dr. Hanson, MD, was made possible by Tackle Kids Cancer, a large and successful fundraising effort conducted in collaboration with the New Giants. York.

Drs. Vogel and Hanson undertake work that includes finding treatments for rare brain tumors, particularly embryonic tumors with multilayer rosettes (ETMR). These tumors are exceptionally aggressive and typically affect children under the age of four. Patients with this type of cancer generally have a very poor prognosis, with typical survival rates not exceeding six months to a year after diagnosis.

The Children’s Cancer Institute’s Neuro-Oncology Section is a program of the Pediatric Hematology-Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant / Cell Therapy Division. The division provides care for patients with cancer, blood disorders and immunodeficiencies at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital and the K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital. This year, for the second year in a row, the Hackensack Meridian Children’s Health pediatric cancer control program was named one of the nation’s top 50 by US News & World Report’s Best Children’s Hospital Report.

Pacific Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Consortium (PNOC)
The Pacific Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Consortium (PNOC) is an international consortium, with study sites in the United States, Canada, Switzerland, Europe, India, Israel, and Australia. PNOC is dedicated to bringing new therapies to children and young adults with brain tumors, using the latest scientific knowledge to inform a personalized medicine approach.

The PNOC comprises 225 leading specialists in childhood brain cancer and is currently conducting 16 international clinical trials. In Australia, the organization works closely with the Australian and New Zealand Children’s Hematology / Oncology Group (ANZCHOG). PNOC’s research is substantially supported by the PNOC Foundation, the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation and other non-profit entities


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