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Dr. Missak Haigentz, Researcher in Head and Neck and Lung Cancer, Appointed Chief of Hematology and Oncology, Morristown Medical Center

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Dr. Missak Haigentz
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Dr. Haigentz’s Newly Reported Studies at ASCO Show Promise for Head and Neck, Lung Cancer Patients and Cancer Patients with HIV

Nationally renowned head and neck and lung cancer researcher Missak Haigentz, MD, has joined Atlantic Health System Cancer Care as chief of hematology and oncology at Morristown Medical Center and medical director of Atlantic Hematology and Oncology for Atlantic Medical Group at the Carol G. Simon Cancer Center.  Dr. Haigentz, a cancer physician who has extensive expertise in the design and implementation of innovative clinical trials to improve the lives of cancer patients, was the lead or co-author of major studies presented at the recent annual scientific meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).  ASCO is the world's leading professional organization for physicians caring for people with cancer.

“Dr. Haigentz is a leader in head and neck cancer research, treatment and education,” said Eric Whitman, MD, medical director, Atlantic Health System Cancer Care.  “We are proud that he has chosen to join our Cancer Care team.  His appointment enhances Atlantic Health System’s capabilities in clinical trials for head and neck cancers, as well as for lung cancer.  He also brings with him extensive experience in using the most innovative, targeted cancer treatments and immunotherapy, which we will now be able to offer to our patients.” 

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Dr. Haigentz joins Atlantic Health System from the National Cancer Institute-designated Albert Einstein Cancer Center in New York City, where he served as director of the clinical trials office and led several national and multicenter trials of cancer drugs.  He most recently held the academic rank of professor of medicine (oncology) and otorhinolaryngology – head and neck surgery at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, with which the Albert Einstein Cancer Center is affiliated. 

“Atlantic Health System is known for its strong leadership commitment to innovation, clinical research, patient-centered care, and to bringing the latest treatments to cancer patients,” said Dr. Haigentz.  “Therefore, as a longtime New Jersey resident, AHS Cancer Care was the natural choice for me in terms of making an impact on patients’ treatment outcomes in my community.  As medical director of Atlantic Hematology and Oncology, my goal is to provide subspecialty-specific cancer care at an academic level, with access to clinical trials and breakthrough medications, while preserving the comfort of compassionate and individualized attention patients and families need and deserve, and to collaborate with outstanding multidisciplinary specialists in the Atlantic Health System Cancer Care team in providing the most innovative and effective therapeutic options.”

Recently returned from the ASCO meeting, Dr. Haigentz’s studies reported there covered a variety of cancer treatments and treatment related issues, including: the first analysis of patient survival data from a multicenter Phase III study of a drug combination that included bevacizumab (Avastin®) for people with advanced head and neck cancer; an early stage study of whether certain cancer patients who are living with HIV can tolerate a combination treatment of paclitaxel (Taxol®) and carboplatin (Paraplatin®); whether there were racial/ethnic disparities in lung cancer patient treatment with immunotherapies; and a long-term analysis of the risks and benefits of Phase I clinical trials. 

Background on Dr. Haigentz

A passionate physician, clinical researcher, educator and leader, Dr. Haigentz is recognized nationally and internationally as an expert in cancers of the head and neck, including thyroid cancers, and in lung cancers. His research has received funding from the National Institutes of Health and the Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO. He is the author of numerous peer-reviewed manuscripts, review articles and book chapters, and he has served on the editorial board of the Journal of Clinical Oncology. He has held several leadership roles, including service as president of the New York Head and Neck Society (2014-2015). Throughout his career, Dr. Haigentz has taken pride in providing compassionate and personalized cancer care.

Dr. Haigentz earned his undergraduate degree at the University of California, Los Angeles in 1991 and his medical degree from the New Jersey Medical School in 1995. After completing residency training in internal medicine at New Jersey Medical School in 1998 (where he also served as chief resident), he received subspecialty fellowship training in hematology and oncology at the New York University School of Medicine. In 2001, Dr. Haigentz was recruited to the faculty of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where he rose to the rank of professor of medicine (oncology) and otorhinolaryngology - head & neck surgery.

Dr. Haigentz sees patients at the Atlantic Hematology Oncology practice at the Carol G. Simon Cancer Center - Morristown Medical Center campus at 100 Madison Avenue in Morristown.  Dr. Haigentz can be reached at 973-971-7960.

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