July 23, 2019 | 67° F

Rutgers Cancer Institute announces new director

In the 25 years since the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey (CINJ) was established, only two directors have run the program.

At the start January 2017, Steven Libutti will become the third director of the only nationally designated cancer research center in the Garden State. 

Libutti is the current Associate Director for Clinical Services of the Albert Einstein Cancer Center in the Bronx borough of New York City, and he will be taking over the role from the current interim director, Bruce G. Haffty, according to the center's website. After the transition, Haffty will continue to service as the chair of Radiation Oncology. 

Libutti is also the editor-in-chief of the scientific journal, "Cancer Gene Research," and a renowned expert in surgical oncology and endocrine surgery. He focuses his research on developing novel cancer therapies through the understanding of the tumor microenvironment and blood vessel formation in tumors, according to the online journal.

He is an internationally known expert in endocrine surgery and the management of neuroendocrine tumors, according to a press release by Rutgers CINJ. 

Libutti has had his research published in more than 270 peer-reviewed journals and is a holder of seven U.S. patents, according to his biography on the Albert Einstein center's website.

The press release said, in addition to his role as the Institute’s new director, Libutti will serve as Vice Chancellor for Cancer Programs for Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences at Rutgers University.

In his first year, the new director will play a major role in the quinquennial renewal of the CINJ’s designation as a National Cancer Institute (NCI) Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, said Brian Strom, Chancellor of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (RBHS) and the Executive Vice President for Health Affairs at Rutgers University in an email.

Storm said in a through Libutti's vast leadership and oncology experience, the doctor will implement a unique vision to position Rutgers CINJ as a top National Cancer Institute.

"We look forward to this new chapter in this history of Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, and together we will make an exceptional program even better," Strom said in the CINJ press release. 

In addition to renewing NCIJ, Strom said Libutti's experience will help to expand the reach of CINJ within New Brunswick and Newark and throughout the statewide system of Robert Wood Johnson-Barnabas Health.

“RWJBH is making a significant investment in CINJ, and will expand its offerings to patients throughout the health system, to the benefit of CINJ, to the health system, but especially to the people of NJ,” he said.

Libutti will be succeeding the previous permanent director, Robert DiPaola, who is the current dean of the University of Kentucky College of Medicine.

“I am honored to have been chosen to lead Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey during this pivotal time in its history,” Libutti said in the CINJ release. “I look forward to helping spur continued growth in all of these areas in order to further solidify our programs and partnerships as some of the best in the nation, and to improve access and care for our patients.”

Minna Kim is an Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy first-year student. She is a staff writer for The Daily Targum.

Minna Kim

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