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. ••