Section: Monmouth Medical Center News

Monmouth Medical Center First in NJ to Offer Groundbreaking Breast-Cancer Research Trial


‘Champions TumorGraft’ trial will advance
personalized medicine

Champions Oncology Group
Members of the TumorGraft Trial Team at Monmouth Medical Center include, seated from left, Mark Hirko, M.D., chairman of surgery; David Sharon, M.D., medical director of the Leon Hess Cancer Center at Monmouth; Seth Cohen, M.D., medical director of oncology clinical research; Robert Braun, system vice president, oncology; and breast surgeon Renee Georges, M.D.; and standing from left, Michael Goldfarb, M.D., program director for surgery; Kimberly Chow, oncology clinical research coordinator; Deanna Tiggs, director, Oncology Data Center; breast surgeon Aron Gornish, M.D.; and Kristy Lupo, oncology research nurse.

Long Branch, NJ – Monmouth Medical Center has joined with Champions Oncology to launch a research clinical trial aimed at developing personalized approaches to improve breast-cancer treatment.

Monmouth is the first site in New Jersey offering access to a groundbreaking research trial that will use a leading-edge treatment model called Champions TumorGraft developed by Hackensack-based Champions Oncology. By removing a piece of a patient’s tumor and growing it in multiple mice, the trial seeks to better predict which drugs are most effective in treating individual tumors.

“All tumors are different – even those that appear the same – so drugs that work for some patients don’t work for others,” said Seth Cohen, M.D, Medical Director, Oncology Clinical Research at Monmouth Medical Center. “This trial is very exciting because it will potentially enable patients to get the most effective medications for their particular type of tumor, and more lives will be saved.”

Trial participants receive the TumorGraft testing – which could cost thousands of dollars – for free, and potentially identify the most effective treatment for their cancer. This model is a form of personalized medicine – initiatives that identify the most effective treatments for individual people. Eligible participants will be able to enroll in the trial through Monmouth Medical Center beginning end of November.

Upon being selected for inclusion in the trial, a small piece of a patient’s tumor that is removed during surgery will be implanted by Champions Oncology into a group of immune-deficient mice. Champions will treat the mice from each patient with different oncology drugs and measure which drugs are most effective against the tumors. This information will be used to personalize the choice of drugs that will be used to treat that specific patient. The Champions TumorGraft process – from implantation in the mice through testing – typically takes four to eight months. While the patient awaits the possible results of the TumorGrafting, the patient will continue to receive standard medical treatment from their treating physician.

To be eligible for the trial, patients must require surgical removal of a malignant breast tumor as part of their standard treatment. Patients must also meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Breast cancer that has spread (metastasized) to a different part of the body.
  • The tumor initially tested negative for ER, PR, and HER2 (Estrogen receptors, progesterone receptors, and the protein HER2 that controls cancer growth and spread. Estrogen and progesterone receptors are found in breast-cancer cells that depend on estrogen and related hormones to grow. These tumor features may change between primary tumors and metastatic tumors.)
  • The tumor initially tested positive for HER2.
  • The tumor was treated with chemotherapy prior to surgery and remains malignant.

“This partnership is part of Monmouth Medical Center’s continuing commitment to be on the forefront of cancer care. We look forward to helping patients both locally and globally through this important research,” said Dr. Cohen.

For more information on the trial or to apply to participate, contact Kimberly Chow at the Leon Hess Cancer Center’s Oncology Clinical Research Program, 732-923-6564.

About Monmouth Medical Center
Located in Long Branch, N.J., Monmouth Medical Center, a Barnabas Health facility, along with The Children’s Hospital at Monmouth Medical Center, is one of New Jersey's largest academic medical centers and has been a teaching affiliate of Philadelphia’s Drexel University College of Medicine for more than 40 years. From its earliest days, Monmouth Medical Center has been a leader in surgical advancement and has introduced many technological firsts to the region, including robotic surgery and other minimally invasive techniques. The hospital is routinely recognized by HealthGrades, the nation’s largest premier independent health care quality company, for excellence in both emergency medicine and maternity care. U.S. News & World Report has recognized Monmouth as a regional leader in cancer, geriatrics, gynecology, neurology and neurosurgery. For more information on Monmouth Medical Center, visit

About Champions Oncology
Champions Oncology Inc. is engaged in the development of advanced technology solutions and services to personalize the development and use of oncology drugs. The company’s TumorGraft Technology Platform is a novel approach to personalizing cancer care based upon the implantation of primary human tumors in immune-deficient mice, followed by propagation of the resulting engraftments, or Tumorgrafts, in a manner that preserves the biological characteristics of the original human tumor in order to determine the efficacy of a treatment regimen. The company uses this technology in conjunction with related services to offer solutions for two customer groups: Personalized Oncology Solutions, in which results help guide the development of personalized treatment plans, and Translational Oncology Solutions, in which pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies seeking personalized approaches to drug development can lower the cost and increase the speed of developing new drugs. Tumorgrafts are procured through agreements with a number of institutions in the U.S. and overseas as well as through its Personalized Oncology Solutions business. For more information on Champions Oncology, please visit

Contact: Elizabeth Brennan


Jennifer Isler
(203) 393-5868

Categories: Cancer,Press Releases,Women's Health