New England Cancer Specialists and Tufts Medical Center form partnership to advance cancer care in New England

Mar 07, 2016, 11:37 ET from Tufts Medical Center

BOSTON and SCARBOROUGH, Maine, March 7, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Tufts Medical Center and New England Cancer Specialists (NECS) have announced a clinical affiliation that will greatly expand patients' access to advanced cancer care, innovative clinical trials, and survivorship resources.

NECS is the largest provider of cancer services in Maine, with nearly 45,000 patient visits in 2015 at locations in Scarborough, Brunswick and Kennebunk. Tufts Medical Center's Cancer Center is a leader in cancer treatment in Boston, with a deep history of innovation and a specialization in complex cancer treatments. Through the affiliation agreement, Tufts MC will be NECS's preferred academic medical center when patients need complex treatments such as bone marrow transplants, second opinions, or access to innovative clinical trials. Together, NECS and Tufts MC will:

  • Expand survivorship care services for adolescent and adult cancer survivors
  • Promote an Oncology Medical Home to measure, ensure, and deliver the highest possible quality cancer care
  • Collaborate on virtual tumor boards where patient cases are studied by a group of highly experienced cancer experts across the care continuum
  • Partner on "precision medicine" and the application of immunotherapy specifically targeted to individual patients and to enhance the immune system

"Tufts Medical Center has a long tradition of working collaboratively with physicians outside Boston to ensure patients throughout New England have access to the best possible cancer care," said Tracey F. Weisberg, MD, President and lead physician at NECS. "When we were looking for a partner to help us bring the most advanced care possible to our patients, Tufts MC was the clear choice in Boston."

"NECS is the recognized leader in providing excellence in cancer care to patients in Maine," said Andrew Evens, DO, MS, FACP, Professor of Medicine and Director of the Tufts Cancer Center.  "We are thrilled to form this strong and close partnership with NECS to advance cancer care for patients throughout Maine and to enhance both our programs through collaborative patient care and innovative research."

Notably, both organizations are involved with ongoing broad-based initiatives to intensely focus resources and efforts on promising new cancer therapies across a variety of institutions. As part of a multidisciplinary group of health care experts, Dr. Evens was an invited member of the clinical leadership convened by Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong to meet with Vice President Biden at his Naval Observatory residence last December, one of a series of private meetings to help inform the Vice President on cancer care as part of his Cancer Moonshot initiative.  "The vice president was highly engaged and challenged us to accelerate the potential of combination immunotherapeutics, using the body's immune system against cancer, and to extend these innovative treatments throughout the community," Dr. Evens said. Dr. Soon-Shiong helped facilitate the collaboration between Tufts Medical Center and NECS.

The Tufts Cancer Center is a robust academic tertiary cancer center with a number of unique assets. It has an oncology physician-led survivorship program serving both pediatric and adult patients provided via the Reid R. Sacco Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Cancer Program. It also has northern New England's only Gamma Knife Center, a special program that uses highly targeted and concentrated radiation therapy to treat brain tumors without surgery. Tufts MC is also one of the few hospitals in the region that provides hyperthermic intraperitoneal (heated) chemotherapy for advanced abdominal cancers.  Additionally, it is an internationally renowned bone marrow and stem cell transplant program, with a rich history as one of the original pioneers of this treatment since the late 1950s. 

New England Cancer Specialists is an independent oncology group with 25 medical oncologists and nurse practitioners. The physicians at NECS participate in more clinical trials than anywhere else in Maine, and are often the first to offer leading-edge protocols and drug treatments based on the latest research. They also hold appointments at Tufts University School of Medicine. By partnering with Tufts Medical Center, they aim to further increase the availability of and access to these novel cancer therapeutics and advancements.


SOURCE Tufts Medical Center