Research Division

The Division of Research consolidates all of the basic science research and clinical trials that are conducted at the John Theurer Cancer Center and the David Joseph Jurist Research Center for Tomorrows Children.

The division's basic science immunology research focuses on learning how and why cancer starts at the molecular level and how it progresses into disease. Some of the most exciting basic research under investigation at the John Theurer Cancer Center involves the basic biology of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), a common, potentially fatal complication of stem cell transplantation. Stem cell transplantation is a treatment for some cancers and serious blood disorders, including leukemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma, breast and ovarian cancer, myelodysplastic syndromes, and aplastic anemia. Our scientists were responsible for some of the breakthrough discoveries in GVHD over the past 25 years, including the fact that T cells cause GVHD. They are continuing these long-standing GVHD studies in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health, the Dana Farber Cancer Center in Boston, and the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.

In clinical research, there are more than 75 clinical trials currently under investigation at the John Theurer Cancer Center. These focus on evaluating the safety and effectiveness of new medications, treatment methods, surgical techniques, medical and surgical technology, imaging studies, protocols for treatments, and medical devices in human volunteers. At the John Theurer Cancer Center, there are clinical trials for almost every type of cancer and many serious blood disorders and immune deficiencies. All clinical trials and patients are tracked using the data management software Velos. We also operate a Tumor Bank, where samples of cells, tissue, and other anatomical structures are stored and analyzed for research purposes. Our clinical trials are conducted independently and in partnership with pharmaceutical companies, medical associations and agencies, the National Institutes of Health, and national groups of medical institutions sponsored by the National Cancer Institute, such as the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group, the Southwest Oncology Group, the Radiation Oncology Group, and the Gynecologic Oncology Group.

The clinical research area of the Division of Research is structured into five sections:

  • New Protocol Submissions: Where all clinical trials are submitted and processed
  • Quality Assurance: To ensure the John Theurer Cancer Center follows all regulations of the Food and Drug Administration for clinical research
  • Education: Which includes the education of physicians, research nurses, and research data coordinators in what new trials are available, how the therapeutics being tested will work in patients, and in Good Clinical Practice and Good Laboratory Practice. This education includes bringing in experts for seminars, e-learning modules, and testing.
  • Data Management: Which can determine drug toxicity during trials, according to guidelines and subject to audits by the Food and Drug Administration
  • Billing: To handle issues relating to all billing that is specific to clinical trials

The Research Division Team


ROBERT KORNGOLD, PH.D.
Division Chief

Robert Korngold, Ph.D., specializes in basic science and translational research in the field of blood and marrow stem cell transplantation. In 1978, he demonstrated in mouse models that mature T cells in donor bone marrow were responsible for causing graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) directed to minor histocompatibility antigens in transplanted recipients. This landmark study had significant impact on the future course of clinical treatment for patients undergoing transplantation from matched sibling or unrelated matched donors.
 Read full bio.


Martin Gutierrez, M.D.

Martin E. Gutierrez, M.D. is Director of the Drug Discovery and Phase I Unit at the John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center. Under Dr. Guiterrez’s leadership, the John Theurer Cancer Center works closely with industry, the National Cancer Institute-National Institutes of Health (NCI-NIH) and other academic institutions to expand its Phase I portfolio.

Dr. Gutierrez brings extensive expertise leading Phase I and early stage cancer treatment research to the John Theurer Cancer Center. He has nearly two decades of drug discovery experience, including many years with the NCI-NIH and other leading institutes helping to bring new treatments to patients. Read full bio. 


Staff Doctors
Ossama Ikladios, M.D.
Ravi Munver, M.D.
Thomas Selvaggi, M.D.
David Siegel, M.D.
Knight Steel, M.D.