HEALTH

Memorial Sloan Kettering opens new Bergen County facility

BY Michael Hill, Correspondent |

Sal Rozzi says his cancer diagnosis was doom and gloom until he met with a Memorial Sloan Kettering doctor in New York.

“She said we see hundreds of men like you every day. This is what we do and this is what we do best, and I’m telling you you’re going to be fine. And, that was 11 years ago,” Rozzi said.

Memorial Sloan Kettering says that’s the kind of care and confidence it will deliver at its new facility in Bergen County where it got some congressional help to cut the ribbon for the grand opening.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Bergen says no longer will patients from New Jersey and southern New York have to travel to Manhattan for outpatient cancer care.

“Today, more than one out of every five people MSK cares for, call New Jersey home,” said Dr. Craig Thompson, president and CEO of Memorial Sloan Kettering.

Memorial Sloan Kettering says more than 53,000 New Jerseyans will be diagnosed with cancer this year, and because of advances in science and medicine, doctors know there are more than 400 types of tumors.

“We are making great progress. The cure rate for cancer is going up, and is going up fast. The amount of chemotherapy that we are giving to our cancer patients is going down,” said Memorial Sloan Kettering Physician-in-Chief, Dr. Jose Baselga.

Memorial Sloan Kettering credits new therapies and approaches to treating cancer. It’s partnering with the John Theurer Cancer Center to offer CAR T-cell therapy.

“You take a healthy cell from somebody’s body, it gets reprogrammed and reinserted in that person and it’s programmed to seek out cancer cells and ultimately destroy them,” said Robert Garrett, co-CEO at Hackensack Meridian Health.

This Memorial Sloan Kettering facility is in partnership with Hackensack Meridian Health. The two parties say it simply makes sense.

“Partnerships are going to be the basis of health care success in the future. Why compete when we can share best practices, when we can collaborate and do what’s right for patients? That’s what’s important to me,” said Garrett.

The state health commissioner welcomed the partnership’s mission to conduct clinical trials.

“When you have some of the best minds available together, in groups treating patients in a one-stop shop you will allow them access to the most formidable and promising therapies that we will study,” said New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal.

A tour of the 110,000 square foot facility included Memorial Sloan Kettering contributors Stewart and Bonnie Krentzman. The first stop: kiosks where patients can check in.

They walked hallways that looked like art galleries, spaces that resembled spas and saw the newest technology for PET scans to diagnosis cancer.

“It’s much more sensitive than the prior units,” said Don Elliott, radiology manager for Memorial Sloan Kettering Bergen. “More detailed, more information and faster.”

Memorial Sloan Kettering Bergen says it’s ready to deliver world class cancer care here in the former Toys R Us corporate headquarters in Montvale.

TOPIC: HEALTH