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History & Overview

In 1904, a group of Philadelphia physicians and business professionals established the American Oncologic Hospital, one of the country’s first hospitals devoted exclusively to cancer which laid the foundation for Fox Chase Cancer Center.In 1904, a group of Philadelphia physicians and business professionals established the American Oncologic Hospital, one of the country’s first hospitals devoted exclusively to cancer which laid the foundation for Fox Chase Cancer Center.


From its founding in 1904 as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase Cancer Center’s legacy continues with a broad range of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research as well as special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship and community outreach.

In 1974, Fox Chase Cancer Center was one of the first centers to earn the comprehensive designation from the National Cancer Institute, the federal government agency responsible for leading the nation’s cancer enterprise. Fox Chase physicians and researchers are frequently involved in setting new guidelines for breakthrough medicine and comprehensive care.

In 1995, Fox Chase Cancer Center became a founding member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, an organization of the world’s leading cancer centers dedicated to setting acceptable standards of best clinical practice in oncology.

In 2000, Fox Chase Cancer Center received Magnet Designation for Nursing Excellence from the American Nurses Credentialing Center, and in 2013 the center became the first hospital in Pennsylvania to achieve this designation four consecutive times.

Fox Chase Cancer Center became part of the Temple University Health System in 2012.

Fox Chase Cancer Center is the home of Nobel laureates and was the center of the research that identified the Philadelphia chromosome. This discovery led to the development of the field of cancer genetics and the development of Gleevec, which has extended the lives of thousands of patients with chronic myeloid leukemia.

Fox Chase Nobel Laureates include:

  • Irwin A. “Ernie” Rose, PhD, along with Avram Hershko, MD, PhD, and Aaron Ciechanover, PhD (both from Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, Israel), earned the 2004 Nobel Prize in Chemistry “for the discovery of ubiquitin-mediated protein degradation”—which came about from a series of epoch-making biochemical studies in the 1970s on the breakdown of proteins within cells.
  • Baruch S. Blumberg, MD, PhD, received the 1976 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for becoming the first to identify the hepatitis B virus—a major cause of primary liver cancer—in 1967. Subsequent to this discovery, Dr. Blumberg, along with Fox Chase scientist Irving Millman, PhD, developed the first blood test to screen for the hepatitis B virus and patented the first hepatitis B vaccine in 1972—the first “anti-cancer vaccine.”

Fox Chase Cancer Center is routinely designated as a US News best hospital, has multiple nationally recognized best doctors, and was recognized by Consumer Reports for best surgical outcomes.

This history informs our unique “Fox Chaseness,” a term coined to describe the special, intangible experience of being a patient at Fox Chase.