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Fox Chase Cancer Center Restructures Relationship with Its Network of Hospitals

Significant Changes Designed to Increase Research Participation and Accelerate Translation of Research Findings to Improve Cancer Care

PHILADELPHIA (Sept. 5, 2006) Fox Chase Cancer Center announced today a restructuring of its relationship with 28 area hospitals, a move that will significantly strengthen South Jersey and Southeastern Pennsylvania's position as a robust hub of clinical cancer research and high-quality, community-based cancer care. Fox Chase Cancer Center Partners (all members of the former Fox Chase Network) and Fox Chase Cancer Center have agreed to expand clinical cancer research collaborations aimed at accelerating the pace of clinical research through increased patient accrual to clinical trials.

The original Fox Chase Network, developed in 1986, was the first known cancer affiliate network in the United States established to enable community hospitals to develop or enhance community-based oncology programs. Today, 28 regional hospitals comprise 17 health systems in the Fox Chase Cancer Center Partners program. All hospitals chosen by Fox Chase as Partners demonstrate outstanding cancer-care standards and have an infrastructure in place to support clinical trials. Hospitals that were part of Fox Chase Network as of Jan. 1, 2006 received the Fox Chase Cancer Center Partners designation (see complete list below).

"We're employing strategic changes to the Fox Chase Cancer Center Partners program to accelerate the translation of research findings to our Partner hospitals and their patients, work toward more seamless clinical care between the hospitals and broaden access to clinical trials in the community," said Paul F. Engstrom, MD - Acting Director, Medical Oncology, medical director of the program and senior vice president for extramural research at Fox Chase.

"The initial focus for developing Fox Chase Network was to offer the latest in cancer care close to home for patients who were unable or didn't want to drive the extra distance to Fox Chase for expert treatment," said Engstrom. "That goal was realized early on, and today, Partner institutions offer more treatment options than many community-based hospitals."

Still, some patients require unique or highly technical surgery, access to advanced diagnostic testing or access to a clinical trial only offered at Fox Chase. The new structure aims to allow a more seamless process between physicians and hospitals as patients pursue more specialized care at Fox Chase and then return to their home institution to continue treatment.

Another enhancement of the new Fox Chase Cancer Center Partners program is the availability of more clinical trials. In the past, the majority of clinical trials offered through Fox Chase Network were phase III drug studies, a final stage in clinical testing. Now, Fox Chase Cancer Center Partners will have the option to participate earlier in the clinical trials process, including phase II trials available only through the partnership with Fox Chase.

In addition, Fox Chase will help its Partners open phase II studies within their own programs in the community. Fox Chase will also support physician-initiated studies and pharmaceutical research collaborations with its Partners.

"Clinical trials offer the most advanced treatments," explained Engstrom. "Increasing volunteer participation in clinical trials is necessary to speed the completion of research studies aimed at improving cancer care. Clinical studies may involve new cancer treatments, unique surgical techniques, successful new technologies, cancer prevention studies or behavioral interventions."

About 18,000 new cancer cases are diagnosed each year at Fox Chase Cancer Center Partner hospitals. Over the past five years, Fox Chase Network hospitals have recruited 2,126 volunteers for clinical research studies, making the program the fourth leading community hospital program for accrual in the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG). ECOG is one of the largest clinical cancer research organizations in the country.

Because of its membership in the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), Fox Chase offers its Partners free access to cancer treatment guidelines, developed by leading physicians from 20 of the world s leading cancer centers. These guidelines represent the most-advanced treatment information available based on the latest cancer research. Fox Chase is the only NCCN member in New Jersey, Southeastern Pennsylvania and Delaware.

In addition to expanding treatment clinical trials, Fox Chase Cancer Center Partners will continue to make valuable contributions to cancer prevention research by offering cancer prevention studies to people at an increased risk of developing cancer because of their family history of cancer or genetic disposition. Also, Fox Chase will continue to work with Partner hospitals to expand risk assessment programs.

The Fox Chase Cancer Center Partners program also presents a growing array of community and professional education resources, ranging from community events and symposia to continuing medical education luncheons, scientific dinner meetings, teaching rounds and tumor conferences for physicians. Nursing education resources include chemotherapy courses, core curriculum courses for Oncology Nursing Society certification exams, disease-specific programs, nursing grand rounds, pain-management training and radiation oncology conferences.

Hospitals chosen to be Fox Chase Cancer Center Partners include:

New Jersey

Community Medical Center, Toms River
Kimball Medical Center, Lakewood
Hunterdon Medical Center, Flemington
Riverview Medical Center, Red Bank
South Jersey Healthcare, Elmer and Vineland
St. Francis Medical Center, Trenton
Virtua Health, Berlin, Marlton, Mt. Holly and Voorhees

Pennsylvania

Crozer Keystone Health System, Drexel Hill, Ridley Park, Springfield and Upland
Easton Hospital, Easton
Geisinger Health System, Danville and Wilkes Barre
Grand View Hospital, Sellersville
Jennersville Regional Hospital, West Grove
Paoli Memorial Hospital, Paoli
PinnacleHealth System, Harrisburg and Mechanicsburg
Pottstown Memorial Medical Center, Pottstown
St. Mary Medical Center, Langhorne
The Reading Hospital and Medical Center, Reading


Fox Chase Cancer Center, part of the Temple University Health System, is one of the leading cancer research and treatment centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has received the Magnet recognition for excellence four consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship, and community outreach.  For more information, call 1-888-FOX CHASE or (1-888-369-2427).

More 2006 News Releases »