Lehigh Valley Health Network Cancer Institute Officially Named Second Member of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Alliance

Lehigh Valley Health Network has become an official member of the MSK Cancer Alliance.

Lehigh Valley Health Network has become an official member of the MSK Cancer Alliance.

The Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) Cancer Institute is now a formal member of the Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) Cancer Alliance, a transformative initiative to improve the quality of care and outcomes for people with cancer in community healthcare settings. Representatives of both organizations made the announcement today at Lehigh Valley Hospital–Cedar Crest following an intensive six-month collaborative review process.

The LVHN Cancer Institute’s membership in the Alliance will enhance research capabilities at LVHN, allowing the health network to deliver world-class, research-based treatments directly to patients. With the review process complete, there are three key ways patients of LVHN are benefiting from this unique partnership:

  • Adoption of MSK standards of care into everyday practice. MSK is a world leader in setting the highest standard of oncology care. By keeping up to date with the latest innovations, LVHN cancer specialists make treatment decisions for their patients based on the best and most current evidence available.   
  • Integrated learning. Oncologists from both organizations are regularly meeting to discuss challenging patient cases to help identify the best treatment course for patients. Membership in the MSK Cancer Alliance also provides LVHN physicians with educational opportunities at MSK. 
  • Access to key MSK clinical trials. Cancer clinical trials can give patients the opportunity to receive drugs or therapies years before they’re available anywhere else.  Plans are under way to open dozens of MSK trials at LVHN in the coming years. Opening these MSK trials at LVHN helps to speed up the data-collection process so investigational therapies can be approved faster and become available to even more patients. 

“At LVHN, our commitment to providing quality care has meant that we’ve long given people access to the latest cancer treatments and clinical trials,” said LVHN President and CEO Brian Nester, DO, MBA, FACOEP. “We also know that when facing a foe like cancer, you can always do more. Memorial Sloan Kettering, a world leader in cancer research, is helping us take our fight against cancer to a new level.”

“At Memorial Sloan Kettering, we are relentless in our pursuit of improving cancer care, and part of that effort includes sharing new knowledge with others and, in turn, learning from them. We are proud and excited to see this new model of collaboration take shape so that the highest-quality cancer care is more accessible to more patients,” said Craig Thompson, MD, President and CEO of MSK.

MSK established the MSK Cancer Alliance as a way to rapidly move more innovative, evidence-based cancer care into the community setting and enable learning across institutions. The LVHN Cancer Institute — the part of LVHN that focuses on cancer research, patient care, the development of its cancer program, and membership in the MSK Cancer Alliance — was selected as the second member of the Alliance because of LVHN’s dedication to delivering high-quality, consistent care and the proven expertise of its physicians and medical teams. Connecticut’s Hartford Healthcare Cancer Institute became an official member in 2015, and in March 2016, Miami Cancer Institute at Baptist Health South Florida announced their intention to become the third Alliance member.

“The goal of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Alliance is to rapidly accelerate the pace of integrating the latest advances of cancer care into a community setting,” said MSK Physician-in-Chief José Baselga, MD, PhD. “This unprecedented approach has and will continue to demonstrate real value to all involved and, most importantly, will improve the lives of people with cancer. Our partnership is designed to adapt and respond to the particular needs of Lehigh Valley Health Network, its clinicians, and patients — and together, we are evolving with the ever-changing practice of oncology.”

Suresh Nair, MD, Medical Director of the LVHN Cancer Institute, said the process to become an official member has been quite intense. “Since the partnership was first announced in August, teams of cancer specialists from both organizations have spent hundreds of hours conducting a rigorous audit of the LVHN Cancer Institute. We had to ensure our standards of care were aligned with the highest standards established by MSK. We’ve reached that milestone and are excited to collaborate with our colleagues at MSK.”