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Fox Chase Cancer Center Becomes First Hospital in Pa., N.J. and Del. to Receive Prestigious Accreditation Associated with Human Research Protection

PHILADELPHIA (August 5, 2004) -- Fox Chase Cancer Center has received Full Accreditation by the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs (AAHRPP). Fox Chase is only the second cancer center in the country and the first hospital in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware to achieve such status.

The accreditation recognizes institutions that meet and in some areas surpass state and federal laws on the oversight of human research, including clinical trials. AAHRPP accreditation is a rigorous review to ensure that the institution is doing everything possible to protect humans who are participating in clinical trials.

"This accreditation demonstrates Fox Chase's commitment to understanding the causes of cancer and to discovering better treatments of cancer while offering the highest level of protection for our patients and volunteers who participate in clinical research," said W. Thomas London, MD, chair of the Institutional Review Board at Fox Chase.

The Office for Human Research Protections and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration require that all clinical trials be reviewed in depth by the hospital's Institutional Review Board, or IRB. If approved, the study must be re-reviewed on a regular basis. The IRB also is charged with reviewing and approving the informed consent forms, questionnaires and any materials used to recruit participants to studies. "The Fox Chase IRB members are responsible for reviewing every single study that is proposed at Fox Chase involving human subjects or human tissue," explained Susan J. Niskey, FACHE, associate administrator at Fox Chase. "Our IRB members take their job very seriously. They ask hard questions and probe both the medical necessity and safety of each trial. Without a doubt, the safety of our patients and volunteers is the IRB's first priority."

At Fox Chase, the IRB is comprised of physicians, nurses, scientists, pharmacists, behavioral researchers, administrative and legal professionals, clergy and other community members. Only 14 institutions have received accreditation since the AAHRPP was launched in 2001. Institutions seeking AAHRPP accreditation must conduct a rigorous self-assessment of their research policies and practices, followed by a site visit from AAHRPP reviewers, who are experts in human research protections. The accreditation process determines whether an institution meets a set of standards and encourages continuous effort to improve its human research protection program. A 23-member board of directorswhich includes representatives from organizations concerned with research involving human participants, patient representatives and community stakeholders, oversees the accreditation process.

"Responding to increased public and political scrutiny, AAHRPP seeks not only to ensure compliance but to raise the bar in human research protection by helping institutions reach performance standards that in some instances go beyond the threshold of state and federal requirements," said Marjorie A. Speers, PhD, AAHRPP Executive Director.

AAHRPP's founding member organizations are the Association of American Medical Colleges, Association of American Universities, Consortium of Social Science Associations, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, National Health Council, and Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research. For more information, visit

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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