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Money From Tobacco Settlement Requested To Ease Human Burden of Cancer

PHILADELPHIA (June 14, 1999) -- The announced settlement between the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and tobacco companies could mean a tremendous boost to cancer research and the health of the residents of Pennsylvania. If state leaders back a plan put forth by Pennsylvania's top cancer centers, the health and well being of thousands of Pennsylvanians could be improved enormously.

Fox Chase Cancer Center is joining forces with Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University, University of Pennsylvania Cancer Center, Temple Cancer Center, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, Penn State Geisinger Cancer Center and The Wistar Institute to propose that 25 percent of the Pennsylvania's portion of the tobacco settlement be set aside to support the excellent research these centers are conducting into cancer prevention, causes and cures.

"This plan could greatly aide some of the country's best cancer researchers," said Robert C. Young, M.D., President of Fox Chase Cancer Center. "Their work is directly enhancing our understanding of the causes of cancer and resulting in the development of new and effective cancer treatments and prevention methods."

As John Glick, M.D., Director of the University of Pennsylvania Cancer Center points out "With additional resources, current research could be expanded significantly to give Pennsylvania residents new and better treatments."

Cancer incidence and deaths from this disease will be a continuing and significant assault on the citizens of Pennsylvania. 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.

"Cancer will strike every age group in every county in every town and in every city in the state," said Giovanni Rovera, M.D., Director and CEO of The Wistar Institute. "A tremendous number of those cancers, usually the most difficult to diagnose and treat successfully, will be the direct result of tobacco use."

Walter J. Curran, M.D., Clinical Director of Jefferson's Kimmel Cancer Center added, "The personal suffering of cancer patients and their families is impossible to measure. These patients also often face enormous financial burdens. Pennsylvanians with cancer - and their families - suffer economic losses that include reduced earnings and major care costs. Years of lost life and productivity are additional costs to our state."

Other states have also recognized the importance of using funds from a tobacco settlement to build on existing cancer research capabilities. 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. 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.

Fox Chase Cancer Center is one of 35 National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the nation. Fox Chase activities include basic and clinical research; prevention, detection, and treatment of cancer; and community outreach programs.

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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