It’s a medical miracle

Thwarted in its ef­forts to ex­pand in­to Burholme Park, the Fox Chase Can­cer Cen­ter enters a part­ner­ship with Temple’s health sys­tem. Both sides love the deal.

Fox Chase Can­cer Cen­ter fi­nally has found a place to grow.

The can­cer cen­ter, at 333 Cottman Ave., wanted to ex­pand in­to the ad­ja­cent Burholme Park, but that move was op­posed by some park ad­voc­ates.

In Decem­ber 2008, a Com­mon Pleas Court judge sided with the park sup­port­ers.

In Decem­ber 2009, Pennsylvania Com­mon­wealth Court up­held that rul­ing.

This Decem­ber, cen­ter pres­id­ent and CEO Dr. Mi­chael V. Seiden and his staff are in a much jol­li­er mood.

Seiden and Temple Uni­versity Health Sys­tem Inc. pres­id­ent and CEO Dr. Larry R. Kais­er last week signed an af­fil­i­ation agree­ment that will en­able Fox Chase to use un­der­u­til­ized space at the ad­ja­cent Jeanes Hos­pit­al.

“This is a great day for two great in­sti­tu­tions,” Seiden said at a Dec. 15 news con­fer­ence at Temple’s med­ic­al edu­ca­tion and re­search build­ing at Broad and Tioga streets.

Kais­er de­scribed the af­fil­i­ation as “trans­form­a­tion­al” for Temple.

“This is such a ma­jor ac­quis­i­tion,” he said.

Some op­pon­ents of ex­pan­sion in­to the park long sug­ges­ted that Fox Chase move onto the grounds of Jeanes, which has been an af­fil­i­ate of the Temple Uni­versity Health Sys­tem since 1996. Dis­cus­sions took place much of this year. The agree­ment means there will be a 47.5-acre con­tigu­ous site.

“There’s con­sid­er­able room to ex­pand on that cam­pus,” said Seiden, who has headed the cen­ter since June 2007.

After los­ing in the courts and de­clin­ing to ap­peal to the Pennsylvania Su­preme Court, Fox Chase was wooed by the state of Delaware. Some who wanted to see the cen­ter re­main loc­al poin­ted to the former Phil­adelphia State Hos­pit­al (By­berry) site as an al­tern­at­ive.

The cen­ter even­tu­ally made the de­cision to keep its cur­rent cam­pus and look for a second loc­a­tion with­in a 15-mile ra­di­us.

If the cen­ter had de­cided to build on its ex­ist­ing cam­pus, the only op­tion would be a ver­tic­al ex­pan­sion be­cause of a lack of open space. Now, ex­tens­ive renov­a­tions on both the Fox Chase and Jeanes cam­puses should provide the needed space for ex­pan­ded out­pa­tient and sur­gic­al-care ser­vices.

“The neigh­bors will not see a new tower pop up on the prop­erty,” Seiden said.

Fox Chase’s hos­pit­al is ap­proved for 100 beds. Among the renov­a­tions will be cre­ation of private rooms for can­cer pa­tients in the Jeanes build­ing and con­ver­sion of semi-private rooms in Fox Chase to private ones.

“We have im­me­di­ate ex­pan­sion plans,” Kais­er said.

Temple Uni­versity pres­id­ent Ann Weaver Hart did not at­tend the news con­fer­ence but she said in a state­ment that the uni­versity is “proud and priv­ileged to wel­come Fox Chase Can­cer Cen­ter in­to its fam­ily of aca­dem­ic re­search­ers and clini­cians.”

Seiden said the agree­ment will al­low Fox Chase, which has pro­duced two No­bel Prize win­ners in medi­cine and chem­istry, to be­gin re­cruit­ing new re­search­ers and clini­cians and to ex­pand clin­ic­al ser­vices.

Temple’s phys­i­cian-sci­ent­ists will be­ne­fit by be­ing af­fil­i­ated with one of only two Na­tion­al Can­cer In­sti­tute-des­ig­nated com­pre­hens­ive care cen­ters in Phil­adelphia (the oth­er is the Uni­versity of Pennsylvania’s Ab­ramson Can­cer Cen­ter) and one of only 40 in the United States.

Jeanes CEO Linda J. Grass at­ten­ded the news con­fer­ence. Jeanes is a 176-bed, full-ser­vice, acute-care hos­pit­al per­haps best known for be­ing home to Temple’s bone mar­row trans­plant­a­tion pro­gram. It will now be able to of­fer can­cer pa­tients ser­vices such as out­pa­tient dia­gnost­ic test­ing, ra­di­ology, breast care, uro­logy and sur­gery.

Both in­sti­tu­tions be­lieve the af­fil­i­ation will ac­cel­er­ate the pace of fur­ther dis­cov­ery and de­vel­op­ment of the most ef­fect­ive ap­proaches to can­cer pre­ven­tion, dia­gnos­is and treat­ment.

“With this kind of tal­ent, good things most cer­tainly will hap­pen,” Kais­er said.

Kais­er sees Temple and Fox Chase, which earned its NCI des­ig­na­tion in 1974, be­com­ing a des­tin­a­tion for pa­tients want­ing state-of-the-art care and re­search­ers look­ing to pre­vent, treat and cure can­cer.

“These are two house­hold names in Phil­adelphia medi­cine,” he said.

As for the two house­hold names in the North­east, Fox Chase and Jeanes will con­tin­ue to of­fer dis­tinct care.

“There will still be two hos­pit­als,” Seiden said.

Kais­er said Fox Chase’s name will stay the same, and he’s look­ing for­ward to see­ing it next to the Temple “T.”

“Fox Chase’s name has a tre­mend­ous value,” he said. ••

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