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Fox Chase Cancer Center Becomes First Hospital In Pennsylvania To Earn New Accreditation

PHILADELPHIA (December 29, 1999) -- Fox Chase Cancer Center is the first hospital in Pennsylvania to receive accreditation for autologous peripheral blood stem cell transplantation from the Foundation for the Accreditation of Hematopoietic Cell Therapy (FAHCT). FAHCT is a nonprofit organization developed for the purposes of self-assessment and accreditation in the field of hematopoietic cell therapy and includes review of all phases of hematopoietic collection, processing and transplant.

"The FAHCT certification is a voluntary, comprehensive process that is likely to become the standard benchmark for stem cell therapy," said Russell Schilder, M.D., Director, Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Program at Fox Chase. "While relatively new, FAHCT offers a clear and effective way to evaluate medical institutions in this field."

Dr. Schilder performs peripheral blood stem cell transplantation (PBSCT) at Fox Chase. Stem cell transplantation is a variation of bone marrow transplantation in which immature blood cells called stem cells are taken from the patient's blood and subsequently are returned to the patient by transfusion to support high dose therapy.

Although bone marrow holds the body's largest concentration of stem cells, a population also appears in the bloodstream - the "peripheral" blood. Evidence shows that autologous (harvesting one's one stem cells) PBSCT lets patients recover more rapidly from high dose chemotherapy and provides a superior source of stem cells to support patients undergoing potentially curative high dose treatment.

FAHCT was established by the International Society of Hematotherapy and Graft Engineering (ISHAGE) and the American Society of Blood and Marrow Transplantation (ASBMT). In December 1994, ISHAGE and ASBMT combined their standards into a single document covering all aspects of hematopoietic cell therapy (collection, processing and transplantation). The two societies started FAHCT in order to develop a voluntary Inspection and Accreditation Program based on the joint standards.

All the major professional organizations interested in hematopoietic cell therapy, including ISHAGE, ASBMT and FAHCT, formed a task force and arrived at a general consensus that the FAHCT Standards were of sufficiently high quality to serve as a model for the other organizations involved in this field. This agreement also ensures consistency between the FAHCT standards and those of other organizations.

Cancer cooperative groups, which conduct national trials, also have adopted the FAHCT standards as their measure of which institutions may participate in their trials.

The first edition of the FAHCT Standards was published in September 1996. The first inspections began in September 1997. Fox Chase Cancer Center is now one of 18 medical institutions in the country accredited by FAHCT.

Fox Chase Cancer Center is one of 37 National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the nation. The Center's 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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