RWJBarnabas Health and Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey broke ground Thursday on a cancer facility in New Brunswick.
The $750 million project is for a 12-story, 510,000-square-foot cancer center, to be completed in 2024. It will be New Jersey's first freestanding cancer hospital, akin to Memorial Sloan Kettering Center in New York, said Dr. Steven Libutti, senior vice president of oncology services at the health system and director of the cancer institute.
The facility will have 96 inpatient beds, an entire floor dedicated to surgical services and 84 examination rooms for multidisciplinary outpatient services. There also will be four linear accelerator machines for radiation treatment, 10 research labs and 86 infusion chairs for chemotherapy and other treatments that are part of clinical trials and radiology services.
The project has been expanded from its initial scope, announced in 2019. The current plan includes 10 more examination rooms and two more infusion chairs, although the footprint remains the same. The project was initially slated to begin last summer and conclude in 48 months, but the start date was pushed back due to the pandemic, Libutti said.
The new cancer hospital is projected to handle up to an additional 10,000 patients per year, amounting to about 60,000 visits, Libutti said. It will take complicated cases and advanced clinical trials, he added.
The health system has been upgrading its cancer offerings, and including this addition, it could see 25,000 more patients per year, amounting to about 180,000 visits, he said.
With New Jersey home to many major biopharmaceutical companies, such as Johnson & Johnson and Merck, having a dedicated, advanced clinical cancer research center sets the stage for collaborations too, Libutti said.
But most important, the facility will bring needed care to patients' backyard.
"Patients in New Jersey shouldn't have to feel they need to travel to New York or Philadelphia for advanced cancer care," Libutti said.
RWJBarnabas reported $5.9 billion in revenue in 2020. The Rutgers Cancer Institute, unveiled in 2018, is a partnership with Rutgers University.
This story first appeared in our sister publication, Crain's New York Business.