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US Rep. Allyson Schwartz Joins Fox Chase Cancer Center Officials to Announce Grant Funding Received via the Economic Recovery Plan

PHILADELPHIA (May 4, 2009) – This morning US Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-Montgomery County/Philadelphia) joined Michael V. Seiden, MD, PhD, president and CEO of Fox Chase Cancer Center, Andrea M. Barsevick, PhD, RN, Fox Chase’s director of nursing research, to announce the awarding of a $217,916 grant to Fox Chase as part of funds distributed from President Obama’s economic recovery plan. The event took place in the Center’s Reimann Auditorium.

According to Rep. Schwartz, the economic recovery plan is already having a significant impact in Pennsylvania, with hundreds of millions of dollars being distributed to key areas including healthcare research, energy independence, and transportation and infrastructure improvements.

The newly funded research project will address an important problem in cancer care: Patients often experience an array of distressing symptoms during treatment that their care providers must try to address with little guidance as to what might be the most effective approach. The most common symptoms are fatigue, insomnia, pain, and depression. The aim of this research will be to define a specific protocol with decision rules about which symptoms to address and when. The study will provide important information about the type and severity of the symptoms experienced during treatment and the benefits of intervention when one or more symptoms are present. This research has the potential to improve the management of multiple symptoms during cancer treatment.

The principal investigator on the project is Andrea M. Barsevick, PhD, RN, director of nursing research at Fox Chase Cancer Center. Dr. Barsevick’s research interests focus on quality of life, which has gained prominence as an important outcome of cancer treatment, encompassing those things that give worth, meaning, purpose, and satisfaction to life. Unlike tumor response or survival, quality of life cannot be measured objectively. Only patients can determine how their disease and treatment affect their lives. Quality of life can include physical, psychological, social, spiritual, and functional well being, as well as symptoms that impact one's ability to function and gain satisfaction in living.

Fox Chase Cancer Center leadership sees in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), or economic recovery plan, an unprecedented opportunity to strengthen the Center’s research programs and infrastructure to more effectively confront cancer while also contributing to the economic recovery of the nation. Fox Chase is submitting a number of applications in response to various National Institutes of Health and Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality program announcements. To date, the Center has sent or is planning to send 12 applications to support shared research instruments like high-throughput gene sequencers and multi-photon confocal microscopes, as well as three multi-million dollar applications to upgrade research buildings and facilities. Over 60 investigators are requesting supplements to enhance their ongoing funded research programs, and for an April 27, 2009, deadline Fox Chase submitted 24 applications for “Challenge Grants,” a special program of high-risk, high-reward projects launched as part of the ARRA. New program announcements are arriving weekly, and Fox Chase is poised to respond to all of them as they fit with its institutional mission of cancer prevention, research, and translation of research to clinical care.

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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