Research Program At The Cancer Institute Of New Jersey Expands Focus

NEW BRUNSWICK– Looking to gain further understanding about the impact of cancer on patients and families, The Cancer Institute of New Jersey (CINJ) is expanding its Quality and Outcomes in Cancer Care (QOCC) Research Program by welcoming nationally-recognized population science researcher Sharon Manne, PhD.

Dr. Manne, who is the recipient of major grant awards from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for her work in behavioral science, was most recently at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. CINJ is a Center of Excellence of UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.


Manne is a professor of medicine and chief of the Section of Population Science, Division of Medical Oncology at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, and will serve as a program leader of CINJ’s QOCC Research Program. This program aims to understand the epidemiological, organizational, social, and behavioral factors that underlie the gap between scientific evidence and actual outcomes in cancer care and to develop and disseminate evidence-based interventions to enhance cancer-related services. Manne’s expertise will complement and enhance these areas.

As the principal investigator of four studies funded through multiple R01 research grants from the NIH, Manne has extensive experience in developing and evaluating couple-based psychological interventions in the area of oncology that promote adaptive communication and supportive behavior.

Studies she will head at CINJ include one on determining whether certain types of psychological assistance will improve the well-being of ovarian cancer patients, and another on whether women with early stage breast cancer and their partners would benefit from different forms of psychological help.

CINJ Director Robert S. DiPaola, professor of medicine at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, says the addition of Manne will help further position CINJ as a leader in both research and patient care. “As a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, we are committed to more than just providing our patients with cutting-edge treatments,” he said. “With Dr. Manne’s expertise, we will be able to devote additional focus to studying the psychosocial elements of cancer, showing CINJ’s dedication for caring for the ‘whole’ patient along with his or her family throughout the state of New Jersey.”

Manne will conduct analysis on other studies in which she is involved focusing on such issues as learning how parents adapt following a child’s bone marrow transplant; creating tailored intervention for the families of melanoma patients; learning to what extent couples discuss colorectal screening and developing interventions; and facilitating informed decision making by colorectal cancer patients being offered a certain gene mutation test associated with their disease.

“By further exploring the emotional and supportive needs of cancer patients and their loved ones, we can better target non-treatment issues that affect their daily lives. In doing this, we can develop new tools they can utilize to improve their quality of life during a difficult period,” noted Manne.

Manne also has a particular focus in improving the acceptance of cancer screening practices among cancer patients and their families. Her experience has led to the development of effective print materials that are specially tailored for family members at risk for cancer.

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