Health & Wellness

Press Releases

Atlantic Health System Cancer Care First in World to Begin Clinical Trial of Novel Virus-Based Immunotherapy for Late-Stage Melanoma; First Patient Enrolled

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Dr. Eric Whitman Leads Study of Experimental Drug That Uses Cold Virus to Disable Cancer Cells in Patients Who Have Not Responded to Other Treatments

Morristown, NJ Atlantic Health System Cancer Care is the first oncology institution in the world to sign on to, and to enroll the first patient in, a multicenter Phase IIa clinical trial of OBP-301 (Telomelysin®), a virus-based immunotherapy for late-stage melanoma that has not responded to other treatments. 

This leading-edge experimental therapy, which is under development by Japanese biotechnology company Oncolys BioPharma, uses the common cold virus to modify a gene that can selectively replicate in, and destroy, cancer cells. The study protocol was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in June.

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The clinical trial is being led locally by Eric D. Whitman, MD, FACS, medical director of Atlantic Health System Cancer Care and director of the Carol G. Simon Cancer Center’s Atlantic Melanoma Center at Morristown Medical Center and Overlook Medical Center.

“This targeted immunotherapy holds great promise for improving survival rates in patients with unresectable and metastatic melanoma,” said Dr. Whitman.  “We are proud to have been chosen as the first site for this leading edge clinical trial, and happy to be able to offer a wide range of the latest established and experimental treatments to our patients.”

Melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, affects more than 50,000 people each year. Although the chances of having melanoma increase with age, the number of cases among young adults is rising every year. Melanoma can have serious health consequences and may even be fatal.

The OBP-301 trial is a multicenter, Phase IIa study to evaluate how melanoma tumors respond to injection of this drug in patients with Stage III and Stage IV melanoma -- that is, to determine how much the drug shrinks or destroys tumors after it is injected into them.  The study, which will also look at potential side effects, is “open label,” meaning that all participants in the study will receive OBP-301. 

OBP-301 is a type of virus known as an adenovirus. Adenoviruses are common in nature and when they multiply in normal human cells they may cause infections that result in symptoms like those of the common cold or the flu.  OBP-301 has been genetically changed from the original virus to reproduce in target cancer cells that are emitting a certain signal. As a result of this reproduction, OBP-301 is believed to burst and kill tumor cells.

Study participants will receive multiple injections into their tumors over a period of several weeks.  Blood tests will be done to evaluate the level of virus in patients’ systems, and for immune response monitoring. Dr. Whitman and colleagues will also evaluate how long it takes to get a response and how long responses last, as well as overall survival and progression-free survival rates.

In preclinical studies, Oncolys demonstrated OBP-301’s anti-tumor activity in various types of cancer cells.  A Phase I clinical trial in the U.S. demonstrated the drug’s safety, and showed that it shrank tumors in a majority of study participants, who had a variety of solid tumors.  Additional studies of the drug have been completed, or are underway, in Japan, Korea and Taiwan.

The Atlantic Melanoma Center, a clinical and research center of excellence, is an internationally-recognized program. The center’s multidisciplinary approach-- combining the expertise of board-certified surgeons, medical oncologists, pathologists, radiation oncologists and nurses – treats all forms of melanoma, including those in the skin, mucous membranes and eyes.  Patients receive the latest medical treatments, and when needed, melanoma surgery is also available. 

For more information on the OBP-301 clinical trial or other studies, please call the Atlantic Melanoma Center at 973-971-7111.  

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Union

The Week Ahead in Union

February 19, 2018

UNION, NJ - Happenings in Union this week:

Monday, 2/19

President’s Day - Municipal Building Closed

•Union Township Active Retirees (Monday Club), 9:00 a.m., Senior Center

Tuesday, 2/20

•SID Meeting, 8:30 a.m., Town Hall

•Senior Citizens Tuesday Club, 10:00 a.m., Senior Center

•Pre-K Interactive Learning Time: “Puzzles, Coloring, Memory & ...

Reservations Now Available for Lunch with Peter Pan and Captain Hook

UNION, NJ – Captain Hook and Peter Pan will be hosting a luncheon in Neverland in anticipation of the Union High School Performing Art Center’s upcoming production of “Peter Pan”.

The event, scheduled for March 18 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Union High School, includes assorted sandwiches and baked goods, arts and crafts, a meet-and-greet with Peter Pan, Captain ...

Workshop for the Vauxhall Community 'Square Foot' Garden

UNION, NJ - The new Vauxhall Community Garden will be located at Eastside Ave and Springfield Ave (across from Whole Foods and Bank of America).  The planning phase is nearly complete.

Square Foot Gardening will be used at this site and will consist of above ground boxes.

On February 28, Golden Rule Lodge #24 and Golden Rule Chapter #50 will host a workshop facilitated ...

Union High School's January Female Athlete of the Month: Kiara Powell

February 13, 2018

UNION, NJ – Union High School senior Kiara Powell has been selected January’s Female Athlete of the Month, sponsored by Service Professionals.

Powell is a member of the co-ed bowling team.  She is the Union County Individual Girls Champion, achieving first place for Group 4 North 2 Sectional Tournament.  Powell rolled a 267, a high game in that tournament.

What’s ...

Union High School's January Male Athlete of the Month: Kai Legband

UNION, NJ – Union High School senior Kai Legband has been selected January’s Male Athlete of the Month, sponsored by Service Professionals.

Legband is on the boys swim team and is the Union County Champion in 50m and 100m Freestyle.

What’s your favorite part of being a high school athlete?. 

The acknowledgement, recognition, and respect I receive from everyone and ...

Upcoming Events

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Tue, February 20, 10:30 AM

Vauxhall Public Library, Vauxhall

Career Coach

Education

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Tue, February 20, 11:00 AM

Union Public Library, Union

Pre-K Interactive Learning Time: “Puzzles, ...

Arts & Entertainment

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Tue, February 20, 12:30 PM

Vauxhall Public Library, Vauxhall

Tai Chi - Free Exercise Program For Mature Adults

Health & Wellness

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Tue, February 20, 2:00 PM

Union Public Library, Union

Tuesdays at 2 Movie: "Roman J. Israel, Esq."

Arts & Entertainment

Reuben A. Montilus Named to the Fall 2017-2018 Dean's List at Western New England University

February 20, 2018

SPRINGFIELD, MA - Reuben Montilus, of Union has been named to the Dean's List at Western New England University for the Fall Semester of 2017. Montilus is working toward a degree in Criminal Justice.

Students are named to the Dean's List for achieving a semester grade point average of 3.30 or higher.

Western New England University is a private, independent, coeducational ...

Twenty-Eight Union Students Named to Seton Hall Dean's List

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - News from Seton Hall University:  

The following Union students have been named to the Fall 2017 Dean's List at Seton Hall University:

Radjanie Antoine

Hamza Ashraf

Jonathan Barcelos

Christopher Arnold Blaza

Meaghan Caulfield

Lauren Colandro

Kevin Cordova

Kristine Demagajes

Lianne Joseph

Monique Krakowski

Austin ...

Kayla Douberley Inducted into the Iota Iota Iota National Honor Society

ELMIRA, NY - Kayla Douberley of Union was one of nine Elmira College students inducted into the Iota Iota Iota (or Triota) National Honor Society for Women's Studies during a ceremony recently held in Cowles Hall, Elmira College.

The induction ceremony recognized students who have excelled academically in gender and women's studies, and fostered feminist scholarship, promoted personal ...

Rahway's Rayford Charged with Distributing Fentanyl-laced Crack Cocaine that Killed 3 Rahway Residents

February 10, 2018

RAHWAY, NJ - George Rayford, 38 of Rahway, has been arrested and charged with distributing crack cocaine that led to the death of three people and sent others to the hospital, it was announced Friday by Union County Prosecutor Michael A. Monahan.

“Considering the high levels of purity found in illegal drugs being sold throughout Union County and New Jersey, as well as the potential ...

24th Annual Hoops to End Homelessness Basketball Classic Raises Much Needed Funds for Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless

ELIZABETH, NJ – The 24th Annual Hoops to End Homelessness was another night of exciting basketball when six local teams paired off to compete to benefit the Elizabeth Coalition’s programs, in particular, its Operation Warm Heart Program, a winter shelter program for the chronically homeless.

The event took place Feb. 3 at the Dunn Sports Center on Pearl Street. Two teams of Union ...

Suspect in Newark Homicide Apparently Shoots Self After Vehicle Chase Ends in Summit

SUMMIT, NJ - A suspect in a shooting that claimed the life of a Newark woman apparently shot himself after a police pursuit ended in the vicinity of Overlook Medical Center in Summit.

According to abc7ny,com, the woman -- 28-year-old Tiffany Wilson -- was discovered deceased in a vehicle in Newark, and a dark-colored Sport Utility Vehicle was seen speeding away from the scene.

Union County Hosts 2nd Annual LGBTQ Pride Event

February 20, 2018

The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders is pleased to announce, the 2018 Family PRIDE CommUNITY Picnic, scheduled for Saturday, June 16, 2018 from 12:00 noon until 5:00 p.m. at Rahway River Park in Rahway. Admission is free to this inclusive celebration of family, equality, diversity and community.

“Standing firmly in support of equality, inclusion and unity, the Freeholder Board is ...

Magnolia Home Remodeling Group of Union Awarded Best Of Houzz 2018

Union, New Jersey – Magnolia Home Remodeling Group of Union has won “Best Of Customer Service” on Houzz®, the leading platform for home remodeling and design. The family owned and operated remodeling company that specializes in both interior and exterior remodeling, was chosen by the more than 40 million monthly unique users that comprise the Houzz community from among ...

Mike Zuko at Salem Roadhouse Cafe

Raised on a diet of The Beatles, Buddy Holly and The Doors, Michael Zuko was exposed first hand to the thrilling music of the legendary 70s NYC club scene. Zuko and the band show a skilled singer-songwriter who is backed by solid musical talent, bringing original, fresh and intelligent lyrics to the stage. A true entertainer, Mike engages the audience fully and leaves them wanting more. Mike and ...

2018 Union County St. Patrick's Day Parade Honorees

UNION COUNTY, NJ - Union County Freeholder Chairman Sergio Granados, Vice Chairman Bette Jane Kowalski and Freeholder Alexander Mirabella presented resolutions to the 2018 Union County St. Patrick’s Day Parade Grand Marshal John McPartlan, General Chairwoman Kathleen M. Holmes and Parade Adjutant Pam Joyce congratulating them on the 22nd annual parade.

The 2018 Union County St.

Columns

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 12

On this week’s episode of AtlantiCast, decade of excellence makes headlines, as Atlantic Health’s place on Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For List leads off the newest episode of AtlantiCast. Also on this week’s show, check out the newest “hybrid” operating room at Morristown Medical Center and find out how Atlantic Health is helping local ...

AtlantiCast Medical Minute: Atlantic Orthopedic Institute’s Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Center

On this episode of the AtlantiCast Medical Minute, we’ll take you inside the Atlantic Orthopedic Institute’s Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Center, with the center’s director, Jason Lowenstein, MD.

Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1M7euCp86-c

AtlantiCast Episode 011

Breaking Atlantic Health System news on this week’s AtlantiCast! Plus, find out why Morristown Medical Center is one of the best hospitals in the nation when it comes to recovering from joint surgery, see the newest center for fighting brain cancer and an Atlantic Health System red-carpet premiere!

 

Super Carb Diet by Bob Harper

Super Carb Diet by Bob Harper with Danny Pellegrino (St. Martin's Press, 2017)

It's hard to go on a serious diet, one on which you expect to be successful and maintain a loss. Fortunately, in his new book Super Carb Diet, Bob Harper has given the weight watching world a sensible new diet plan to help achieve a healthy weight.

Harper, host of NBC's popular show The Biggest Loser, ...

Two Nights by Kathy Reichs

Two Nights by Kathy Reichs (Bantom,2017)

How does a writer of a beloved series like Harry Potter or Temperance Brennan break out of their readers' expectations and try something new? For J.K. Rowlings it was the novels penned under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith; books about a maimed and very flawed private detective with the unlikely name of Cormoran Strike. For Kathy Reichs, it is the ...

'What Stays' exposes family secrets and lies

‘What Stays’ exposes family secrets, resentment and lies

By Liz Keill

SUMMIT, NJ – In an original play by Laura Ekstrand and Jason Szamreta, the Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre has provided an enlightening, funny and heart-felt view of family foibles.

Ekstrand has said that the germ of the play came from conversations with the ensemble members of the troupe, based on ...

What Union is Reading: January 2018

February 13, 2018

It is said that you can tell a lot about a person by what they read but can you tell as much about a community by what they read? Take a look and see what you think.

The top five circulated fiction and non-fiction books at the Union Public Library for January 2018 were:

Adult Fiction

1.     Don't Let Go by Harlan Coben 

2.     End Game ...

Let's Talk Teeth

Let’s TALK about TEETH!

Since February is Children’s dental health month we thought we’d share a few tips on how to make sure your little ones keep their teeth healthy and strong!

The Basics – Brushing two times a day for two minutes is one of the most important ways to keep teeth free of plaque. Brushing after breakfast is recommended because most children’s ...

Millburn Volleyball Coach Arrested on Charges of Sexual Contact with a Minor

February 13, 2018

MIDDLESEX COUNTY, N.J. — Peter Nguyen, Millburn High School's head volleyball coach and a bookkeeper for the Millburn Township Board of Education, was arrested today and charged with one count of sexual contact with a 14-year old female who was a member of the Impact Volleyball Club. Nguyen also faces two second degree counts of endangering the welfare of a ...

Smithereens Bandmates Reunite and Play Show Honoring Scotch Plains Music Legend Pat DiNizio

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Two of the founding members of the Smithereens reunited at New Brunswick's Court Tavern on Saturday, Feb. 3, to pay tribute to the late Pat DiNizio, the band’s lead singer, who died in December.

The concert, titled “Blood & Roses: The Court Tavern Memorial Tribute to Pat DiNizio,” featured 15 of the alternative band’s hits from over the ...

Letters to the Editor

ICUC Dr. Wail Rasheed Reacting to Florida Shooting

February 15, 2018

If we were to count the number of lives lost to violence, crime, mass shootings or terror attacks in the US this past year alone, clearly the sacredness of life has no value to the ruthless perpetrators, for all of them are doing the same thing; taking away a God given right from people, the right to exist.

The diverse religious communities in the US must stand strong in denouncing ...