Dr. Igor Astsaturov Appointed Inaugural Holder of Paul F. Engstrom Professorship in Oncology at Fox Chase Cancer Center

Igor and Dr Engstrom
Igor Astsaturov, MD, PhD, has been appointed inaugural holder of the Paul F. Engstrom Professorship in Oncology.

PHILADELPHIA (October 18, 2023) — Igor Astsaturov, MD, PhD, Associate Professor in the Department of Hematology/Oncology and co-director of The Marvin and Concetta Greenberg Pancreatic Cancer Institute at Fox Chase Cancer Center, has been appointed inaugural holder of the Paul F. Engstrom Professorship in Oncology.

Engstrom, one of the most beloved and respected physicians ever to serve on the Fox Chase faculty, is a pioneer in cancer prevention and control who created one of the first programs in the country dedicated to this field — at a time when the notion of prevention was novel.

“A rare type of physician and researcher, Dr. Astsaturov dedicates himself to providing compassionate care driven by laboratory discoveries that will more accurately define the molecular makeup of a patient’s cancer and help design better treatment options in the future,” said Robert Uzzo, MD, MBA, FACS, President and CEO of Fox Chase.

“Over the course of his career, Dr. Astsaturov has been instrumental in advancing cancer research,” added Jonathan Chernoff, MD, PhD, Cancer Center Director, “not only through his laboratory and clinical work but also through his advocacy efforts to secure increased federal funding, particularly for pancreatic cancer, and to raise awareness through community outreach and patient education events.”

Astsaturov specializes in treating gastrointestinal malignancies, including pancreatic, colorectal, esophageal, liver, gall bladder, bile duct, and stomach cancers, as well as neuroendocrine tumors. He joined the Fox Chase faculty in 2008 after completing a fellowship in medical oncology at the center.

In addition to being honored by Philadelphia magazine as a Top Doctor, he is consistently highly rated by his own patients, according to patient satisfaction data, for the quality of his care and the supportive manner in which he provides it.

“It is fitting that Dr. Astsaturov now holds the Engstrom Professorship because he embodies the compassion and dedication that Dr. Engstrom so consistently demonstrated throughout his career,” Uzzo said.

The Engstrom Professorship reflects a decades-long tradition of Fox Chase recognizing significant figures in its institution’s history with a lasting tribute. It enables Fox Chase to support an outstanding leader in cancer science and medicine who represents the highest standards of excellence in keeping with the legacy of Engstrom’s work.

Engstrom joined American Oncologic Hospital in 1970 and became one of the first medical oncologists to practice at Fox Chase when AOH merged with the Institute for Cancer Research to become Fox Chase Cancer Center several years later.

For nearly 50 years until his retirement in 2018, Engstrom dedicated himself to improving the lives of those facing cancer. In his clinical practice, he focused specifically on gastrointestinal cancer and neuroendocrine tumors, often seeing patients from near and far with difficult cases. A founding member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network Clinical Practice Guidelines Committee, he helped develop the standard of care followed by physicians around the world.

“This honor presents Dr. Astsaturov with new opportunities to bring strength and focus to advancing our understanding of gastrointestinal cancers and how we treat patients with them,” Chernoff said. The support is particularly special because it comes from patients, colleagues — including Fox Chase faculty — board members, former trainees, family, and friends of Engstrom as well as Engstrom himself, he added.

Fox Chase Cancer Center (Fox Chase), which includes the Institute for Cancer Research and the American Oncologic Hospital and is a part of Temple Health, is one of the leading comprehensive cancer 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 is also one of just 10 members of the Alliance of Dedicated Cancer Centers. 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 six 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. It is the policy of Fox Chase Cancer Center that there shall be no exclusion from, or participation in, and no one denied the benefits of, the delivery of quality medical care on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity/expression, disability, age, ancestry, color, national origin, physical ability, level of education, or source of payment.

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