Cancer Breakthroughs 2020 Community Oncology Milestone: National Immunotherapy Coalition (NIC) Partners with New England Cancer Specialists to Advance Cancer Care in New England

Unique collaboration between National Immunotherapy Coalition and the largest community oncology provider in Maine to provide the next-generation standard of cancer care through Cancer Breakthroughs 2020 to nearly 45,000 cancer patient visits per year in greater Northern New England

Culver City, CA -- March 4   ̶   Cancer Breakthroughs 2020 today announced its clinical affiliation with New England Cancer Specialists (NECS), aimed to greatly expand patients’ access to advanced cancer care, innovative clinical trials, and survivorship resources in the community. 

"This important collaboration with one of the largest independent community oncology practices fulfills an important goal of Cancer Breakthroughs 2020, enabling community oncologists with access to next generation immunotherapy clinical trials " says Patrick Soon-Shiong, MD, Chairman of the Chan Soon-Shiong Institute of Molecular Medicine, a non-profit medical research support organization. "We are proud to be in collaboration and agreement to share knowledge between our organizations and hope to reproduce this collaboration and support on a national scale. Discussions began at the "Breakthroughs in Medicine" summit we convened last year at Jackson Hole and I am so pleased to see the meeting bear fruit in this important National Immunotherapy Initiative"

NECS is the largest provider of cancer services in Maine, with nearly 45,000 patient visits in 2015 at locations in Scarborough, Brunswick and Kennebunk.  Together, NECS and Cancer Breakthroughs 2020 will:

  • Expand survivorship care services for adolescent and adult cancer survivors;
  • Promote an Oncology Medical Home to measure, ensure delivery of the highest possible quality cancer care;
  • Collaborate on virtual tumor boards where patient cases are studied by a group of highly experienced cancer experts across the care continuum; and,
  • Partner on protocols to the QUILT program to accelerate the development of combination immunotherapy treatments as presented in the goals of Cancer Breakthroughs 2020 and Precision Medicine, including the application of immunotherapy specifically targeted to individual patients and to enhance the immune system. 

“Our partnership with Dr. Soon-Shiong and Cancer Breakthroughs 2020 will ensure patients throughout New England have access to the best possible cancer care,” said Tracey F. Weisberg, MD, President and lead physician at NECS. “With Dr. Soon-Shiong's vision of bringing the next generation standard of care to patients with cancer, we knew this partnership was the clear choice and we are extremely excited and honored to play a role in Cancer Breakthroughs 2020 on behalf of our patients in the community,” ‎ she said

NECS is collaborating with other innovative research efforts including an immunotherapy coalition led by Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, which is focusing on ways to use the body's immune system against cancer. Through its participation in the coalition, NECS hopes to contribute to these missions by enhancing communication between their providers, increasing availability of cutting-edge immunotherapy treatments throughout the Maine community, and working closely together to achieve the highest quality and best possible outcome for each patient.

About New England Cancer Specialists

NECS is an independent oncology group with 25 oncologists and nurse practitioners who are on staff at Maine Medical Center. The physicians at NECS participate in more clinical trials than anywhere else in Maine, and are often the first to offer leading-edge protocols and drug treatments based on the latest research. For more information, visit

About The Cancer Breakthroughs 2020 Program

The Cancer Breakthroughs 2020 Program is the nation's most comprehensive cancer collaborative initiative seeking to accelerate the potential of combination immunotherapy as the next generation standard of care in cancer patients. This initiative aims to explore a new paradigm in cancer care by initiating randomized Phase II trials in patients at all stages of disease in 20 tumor types in 20,000 patients within the next 36 months. These findings will inform Phase III trials and the aspirational Breakthroughs to develop an effective vaccine-based immunotherapy to combat cancer by 2020. For more information, please visit


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Jen Hodson