Research at Fox Chase
As one of the four original cancer centers to receive comprehensive designation from the National Cancer Institute, Fox Chase Cancer Center has been at the forefront of cancer research for almost 90 years. We have world class programs in cancer biology, blood cell development and function, cancer epigenetics, molecular therapeutics as well as cancer prevention and control. Our singular focus on cancer, which couples discovery science with state of the art clinical care and population health, remains the foundation of our work.
The Institute for Cancer Research was founded in 1926 under the direction of Dr. Stanley Reimann, and would eventually become Fox Chase Cancer Center. The institute’s strong support of fundamental research fostered several seminal discoveries that shaped the future of cancer prevention and treatment.
Some well-known examples include the identification of the “Philadelphia Chromosome” as the genetic basis for cancer, which led to today’s targeted therapies for leukemia. Fox Chase Cancer Center is also the home of the discovery of the hepatitis B virus and development of a vaccine against it, which resulted in one of the two Nobel Prizes awarded to Fox Chase faculty. Other critical breakthroughs in identifying and characterizing tumor suppression, cellular signaling, reprogramming tumor cells, understanding genetic cancer risks, advances in radiotherapy and many others have been discovered at Fox Chase Cancer Center.
These sorts of discoveries can only occur in a collaborative environment. In the 1940s, a custom was established to hold afternoon tea for all staff. This social collaboration contributed to many of the discoveries made in the labs, and was formalized when the American Oncologic Hospital and Institute for Cancer Research merged in 1974 to form Fox Chase Cancer Center. It continues today, with tea and cookies served at 3:30 in the cafeteria, thanks to the support of a generous donor.
Under the current leadership of President and CEO Dr. Richard Fisher, one of the world’s leading lymphoma specialists, Fox Chase Cancer Center’s research efforts have been focused on the areas that best leverage the institution’s enhanced strengths in scientific development: translational research, precision medicine, epigenetics, signaling reprograming, immunotherapy, hematologic malignancies, and cancer disparities.
Fox Chase Cancer Center recently expanded its scope by merging with Temple University Health System’s oncology research, treatment and prevention programs. Temple’s 54 faculty members bring considerable expertise in several critical areas including molecular biology, cancer prevention and control. The affiliation with Temple also enables collaboration with several key centers of excellence, including the Moulder Center for Drug Discovery Research.
The center continues to lead the field with seminal scientific discoveries that have key translational implications. In the past five years, we have discovered a new tumor suppressor syndrome; identified the medulloblastoma cell of origin and the role of ribosomal proteins in leukemogenesis; developed prognostic gene signatures in bladder cancer; demonstrated the efficacy of a targeted agent, ceritinib, in mutated/resistant non-small cell lung cancer; and increased cervical cancer screening rates in underserved populations.
Fox Chase Cancer Center has a long and storied history of breakthrough research and a unique focus on cancer research and care. This long Fox Chase tradition – what some call the “Fox Chase Way” – lives on, as evidenced by the Center’s continued ability to recruit extraordinarily talented scientists and to provide these investigators with the environment they need to make fundamentally important discoveries.