Breakthroughs and Major Discoveries at Fox Chase Cancer Center

Fox Chase Cancer Center Remembers Nobel Laureate and Scientist Irwin “Ernie” Rose, 1926-2015

Building on an atmosphere of collaboration between researchers and clinicians, and with an open mind to new approaches, Fox Chase Cancer Center has made tremendous contributions to research over the years. 

This work continues as a daily part of our research mission.

The Philadelphia Chromosome

"This 40 years of research, starting from the discovery of an abnormal chromosome in CML cells and ending in the design of a drug that can negate the consequences of that chromosomal change, illustrate how slow yet steady progress in cancer research is having a positive impact on the outlook for people with cancer."

The American Cancer Society in 1999, 40 years after the discovery of the Philadelphia Chromosome

The seminal discovery took place under a Fox Chase Cancer Center microscope in 1959, when David A. Hungerford, in collaboration with Peter C. Nowell, detected a tiny abnormality in the chromosomes from cultured blood cells taken from two patients with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). This would later be known as the "Philadelphia Chromosome," the first consistent chromosome abnormality associated with neoplasia. Now, based on this research, hundreds of drugs for cancer that target specific molecules are in development and dozens have been approved. 
Read more about the history of the Philadelphia Chromosome »

Nobel Prize Recipients

  • Irwin Rose, PhD, receiving his Nobel in 2004

    2004 Nobel Prize in Chemistry
    Irwin Rose, PhD

    "For the discovery of ubiquitin-mediated protein degradation"
    Nobel Committee
    Avram Hershko, MD, PhD, Aaron Ciechanover, PhD (both from Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, Israel), and retired Fox Chase scientist Irwin A. "Ernie" Rose, PhD, won the 2004 Prize for a series of epoch-making biochemical studies on the breakdown of proteins within cells. During a series of sabbaticals that began in the late 1970s, Hershko and Ciechanover accomplished much of this work as visiting scientists alongside Rose in his laboratory at Fox Chase Cancer Center.
    Read more on Dr. Rose »

  • Dr. Blumberg receiving his Nobel, 1976

    Dr. Blumberg receiving his Nobel, 1976

    1976 Nobel Prize in Physiology
    or Medicine

    Baruch S. Blumberg, MD, PhD

    "For the discovery concerning new mechanisms for the origin and dissemination of infectious diseases"
    Nobel Committee
    Baruch S. Blumberg, MD, PhD, a Fox Chase Cancer Center Distinguished Scientist and senior advisor to the Center's president, won the 1976 Nobel Prize in medicine for his 1967 discovery of the hepatitis B virus. This led to the development of the first hepatitis B vaccine at Fox Chase.

    Fox Chase Cancer Center honored the lifetime achievement of Dr. Blumberg on the occasion of his 80th birthday with a special scientific symposium Thursday, June 16, 2005, examining his Nobel Prize-winning research and his more recent work with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) as the first director of the Astrobiology Institute.
    Read more on Dr. Blumberg »

The Kyoto Prize

Cancer researcher Alfred G. Knudson Jr., MD, PhD, (pronounced ka-nud'-son) of Fox Chase Cancer Center was named winner of a prestigious Kyoto Prize for 2004. The Kyoto Prize is considered among the world's leading awards for lifetime achievement and is given to those who have "contributed significantly to mankind's betterment."


The Lasker Award

Albert Lasker Clinical Medical Research Award, 1998
Alfred Knudson, Jr., Peter Nowell, and Janet Rowley
For incisive studies in patient-oriented research that paved the way for identifying genetic alterations that cause cancer in humans and that allow for cancer diagnosis in patients at the molecular level.