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History & Overview

Fox Chase became an NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center in 1974.
The Diamond sculpture, by Jay Dugan, symbolizes Prevention, Patient Care, and Research.
The center courtyard. Research on the left, the hospital on the right.
Fox Chase Cancer Center was formed in 1974 by the union of the American Oncologic Hospital, established 1904, and the Institute for Cancer Research, founded in 1927.
The American Oncologic Hospital, one of the country’s first hospitals devoted exclusively to cancer opened January 4, 1905, in a converted Victorian home at 45th and Chestnut streets in West Philadelphia. In 1906 a new hospital was built a few blocks east at 33rd and Powell.
In 1954, AOH expanded with the addition of the George Morris Dorrance Clinic, honoring the Hospital’s first medical director.
In 1968, after 57 years in West Philadelphia, the American Oncologic Hospital opened in Fox Chase.
Dr. Richard Fisher at the new Pancreatic Center
The Marvin and Concetta Greenberg Pancreatic Cancer Institute, opened September 2017, is the largest single gift in Fox Chase’s 113-year history.
The Pathways mural
The Pathways mural, in the cafeteria, was a shared effort of Fox Chase employees and the Mural Arts Project. It contains references to milestones in research.


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.

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