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Fox Chase Cancer Center

Temple University Health System
Comprehensive Cancer Center

Jonathan Chernoff, M.D., Ph.D, Director and Sr. Vice President

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Cancer Information Line: 1-888-369-2427 (1-888-FOX-CHASE)

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Fox Chase Cancer Center was formed and named an NCI-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974, when the American Oncologic Hospital (established in 1904) and the Institute for Cancer Research (founded in 1927) united. Fox Chase is a freestanding cancer center affiliated with Temple University Health System and serves as the cancer program for Temple University.

The mission of Fox Chase Cancer Center is to prevail over cancer by marshaling hearts and minds in bold scientific discovery, pioneering prevention, and compassionate care. With a staff of over 2,000, the center provides both patient care and research in more than 80 laboratories, staffed by hundreds of physicians and scientists. The affiliation with Temple University has added value to the cancer center with the addition of 50 research program members from multiple university departments, the Lewis Katz School of Medicine, and the College of Public Health.

The vision of the translational medicine effort at Fox Chase is to discover diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers, devices, and therapeutics to positively impact the lives of people at risk of cancer, as well as patients with cancer.

Fox Chase is a founding member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, a not-for-profit alliance of the world’s leading cancer centers known for setting the accepted standards of clinical best practice in the field of oncology. The Center’s research enterprise also serves as a prime contractor of the National Cancer Institute’s PREVENT Cancer Preclinical Drug Development Program.

Research at Fox Chase Cancer Center

Fox Chase has a rich scientific history as the center that discovered the Philadelphia chromosome and the two-hit hypothesis. With two Nobel Prize winners, the Center is the site where the hepatitis B virus—a major cause of primary liver cancer—was first identified in 1967, and where a cancer-causing genetic mutation, dubbed the Philadelphia chromosome, was discovered in 1959. This earlier discovery led to a better understanding of the mutation’s role in causing chronic myeloid leukemia; the development of the drug, Gleevec; and the beginnings of the field of cancer genetics.

Clinical, basic, and population research conducted by experts across disciplines enable the center to translate new research findings into medical applications that may become models for improved cancer care. Fox Chase Cancer Center offers the opportunity for participation in clinical trials, both at the center and in the community, through its Extramural Research Program.

Select Scientific Initiatives at Fox Chase Cancer Center

Research programs at the center include:

  • The Cancer Biology program focuses on basic scientific discoveries related to human malignancies. Using state-of-the-art biochemical, cell-based and animal models, as well as patient-derived specimens, faculty examine the transformation and tumorigenic process to determine how a cell transforms and becomes cancerous.
  • The Blood Cell Development and Function program focuses on understanding how normal cell development is controlled and how disabling those controls leads to blood cancers, how different forms of inflammation impact solid tumor growth, and how newly discovered functions of immune effectors can be exploited to improve cancer immunotherapy.
  • The Molecular Therapeutics program integrates biophysical, computational, cell biological, molecular, and clinical approaches to identify tumor-associated defects in protein structure and interactions that cause errors in cell signaling. Close interactions between clinical researchers and laboratory scientists inform the use of protein-targeted drugs, and identify genomic, transcriptomic, and protein biomarkers that are relevant to targeted therapies, enriching clinical trials.
  • The Cancer Epigenetics program works to better understand epigenetic (de)regulation in cancer and how this knowledge can improve diagnosis, prognosis, and outcomes for various malignancies. The program emphasizes identification and validation of new anti-cancer drug targets, as well as established and emerging targets, while simultaneously focusing on systems and molecular mechanisms.
  • The Cancer Prevention and Control program is a multidisciplinary program that integrates basic and applied molecular biology and oncology with the behavioral, social, and population sciences to reduce cancer related morbidity and mortality. Research teams develop and implement novel approaches to reducing cancer risk and enhancing cancer-related outcomes in both at-risk and cancer patients.

Among the prevention-related services offered by the center, there are also special programs to help people with family histories or other risks of breast, ovarian, gastrointestinal, melanoma, and prostate cancer.

This profile was provided by Fox Chase Cancer Center.

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