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Amy Merves
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Decision on Allocation of Tobacco Settlement Money Imminent; Funds For Cancer Research Widely Supported

PHILADELPHIA (September 30, 1999) -- Fox Chase Cancer Center executive vice president F. Jay McKay will join Attorney General Mike Fisher at a press conference today, Thursday, Sept. 30 at 1 p.m. in the Capitol Media Center, Room 01, East Wing, Capitol Complex, Harrisburg.

Fisher, McKay and others will discuss Pennsylvania's $11.3 billion settlement with the tobacco industry and its potential impact on the states' $206 billion recovery. In addition, McKay will discuss a plan put forth by every major cancer center in the state regarding the use of the money for cancer research.

The finalization of Pennsylvania's legal obligation for the settlement between states and tobacco companies is nearly complete. Reaching "state-specific finality" means the Commonwealth and 45 other states can begin receiving payments from the $206 billion agreement. Legislators now must decide how to allocate the state's $11.3 billion portion, but it is clear that healthcare is the top priority. One of the most well-supported spending proposals being considered is the one put forth -jointly- by every major cancer center in the state.

Fox Chase Cancer Center, Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University, University of Pennsylvania Cancer Center, Temple University Cancer Center, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, Penn State Geisinger Cancer Center and The Wistar Institute have proposed to the Legislature that 25 percent of 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.

"The research being done at Fox Chase and other cancer centers is directly enhancing our understanding of the causes of cancer," explained Robert C. Young, M.D., President of Fox Chase Cancer Center. "We're already seeing results in the development of new and effective cancer treatments and prevention methods. In the past year, we have seen the approval of at least two cancer drugs (tamoxifen and herceptin), one of them a preventative for breast cancer. In part, these drugs exist because of cancer research done right here in our own backyard. 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.

The cancer centers' proposal to use 25 percent of the settlement for cancer research funding has received endorsements from the American Cancer Society, the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition, and the Hospital Association of Pennsylvania.

Fox Chase Cancer Center is one of 36 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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