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American Cancer Society of Pennsylvania Endorses Cancer Centers' Plan for Allocating Tobacco Settlement Money

PHILADELPHIA (January 29, 1999) -- The American Cancer Society (ACS) Pennsylvania Division, Inc. is endorsing a proposal put forth by this state's National Cancer Institute (NCI) recognized cancer centers, which request that 25 percent of Pennsylvania's tobacco settlement money be directed to cancer research. The Cancer Centers included in the proposal are Fox Chase Cancer Center, University of Pennsylvania Cancer Center, Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University, The Wistar Institute, Temple University Cancer Center, Penn State Geisinger Cancer Center, and University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute.

The settlement, approved by Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge John W. Herron, would send $11.3 billion dollars to Pennsylvania over the next 25 years. The Cancer Centers' proposal was introduced to Governor Tom Ridge in December.

"This is an opportunity unlike any other to make a tremendous difference in our health and well-being, as well as the health of our children and our children's children," said Garry Pincock, CEO of the ACS Pennsylvania Division, Inc. "The American Cancer Society sees this proposal as a huge step forward in the fight against this country's most devastating disease. If the state comes through with the requested funds for the Cancer Centers, we could see a radical change in the way cancer is treated within our lifetime."

"The American Cancer Society of Pennsylvania's choice to endorse the Cancer Centers' plan places a high distinction on this proposal," said Robert C. Young, president of Fox Chase Cancer Center. "They, too, see how the work of researchers at these institutions has already enhanced our understanding of the causes of cancer. With more research funding, that work can result in the development of new and more effective cancer treatments and prevention methods. This is a proposal that can reap huge human rewards."

"Cancer incidence and deaths from this disease will take a continuing and significant toll on the citizens of Pennsylvania," said John Glick, M.D., director of the University of Pennsylvania Cancer Center. "The Pennsylvania Department of Health has estimated that, over the next 10 years, more than 700,000 Pennsylvanians will be diagnosed with cancer. More than 300,000 will die unless there are immediate and notable improvements in prevention research and cancer treatment."

"Other states have also recognized the importance of using funds from a tobacco settlement to build on existing cancer research capabilities," said Walter J. Curran, Jr. M.D., clinical director of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University.

Settlements in both Texas and Florida, which provided significant support for their cancer centers, proved to minimize administrative costs and maximize their investment in cancer research. Curran added, "These states also recognized the economic importance of strengthening their biomedical research programs. A similar investment in Pennsylvania will help ease the burden of human cancer, both personally and economically, and will help build the Commonwealth's strength in biomedical research."

It is up to the General Assembly to appropriate the money from the tobacco settlement. The first payment to Pennsylvania in the amount of $138 million has already been made to an escrow account. The money will be turned over to the Commonwealth when 80 percent of the states, representing 80 percent of the total allocation, have reached court approval of their settlements and the appeal periods have expired. The state's second payment would be $368 million. After that, Pennsylvania is slated to receive between $398 million and $482 million each year for the next 25 years for a total of $11.3 billion.

The Wistar Institute, established in 1892, was the first independent medical research facility in the country. For more than 100 years, Wistar scientists have been improving world health through their discovery of molecules that help the immune system fight disease, including cancer, the identification of genes responsible for cancer growth, and the development of vaccines. Wistar is a National Cancer Institute (NCI) cancer center.

The Kimmel Cancer Center (KCC) at Thomas Jefferson University is also an NCI cancer center. Designated a Clinical Cancer Center, KCC has approximately 115 members involved in basic and clinical research initiatives. KCC investigators receive more than $55 million in support, including more than 140 grants funded by the National Institutes of Health.

The Penn State Geisinger Cancer Center offers cancer services across forty counties in central Pennsylvania served by the Penn State Geisinger Health System. The Center's mission includes the advancement of oncology knowledge through cancer education, community outreach and clinical care. In addition, the Center has a large basic and clinical research program funded by NCI and other organizations. A cancer center without walls, this organization treats more than 4,000 new cancer cases across four regions in three specialized facilities.

The University of Pennsylvania Cancer Center (UPCC) is one of a select group of cancer centers in the country awarded the prestigious designation of comprehensive cancer center by the National Cancer Institute. This status reflects Penn's outstanding cancer research, clinical services, education and information services and community outreach. UPCC is comprised of 330 physicians and scientists, all of whom are dedicated to increasing our knowledge about preventing and curing cancer.

Fox Chase Cancer Center is also a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center. Fox Chase activities include basic and clinical research; prevention, detection, and treatment of cancer; and community outreach programs. Temple University Cancer Center has an affiliation with Fox Chase.

The University of Pittsburg Cancer Institute (UPCI) is also an NCI designated comprehensive cancer center established in 1985. Since then, the Institute has been committed to developing new and effective approaches to cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care. UPCI is an international leader in translational research, the conversion of laboratory findings into clinical applications. Professionals at UPCI use a wide range of modern technologies and facilities to help each patient receive individualized, comprehensive care. Ongoing studies at UPCI lay the foundation for future diagnostic methods and treatments that often become employed worldwide.

The American Cancer Society is a nationwide, community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer, saving lives and diminishing suffering from cancer through research, advocacy, education and service.

Fox Chase Cancer Center, part of the Temple University Health System, is one of the leading cancer research and treatment 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 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 four 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.  For more information, call 1-888-FOX CHASE or (1-888-369-2427).

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