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Fox Chase Cancer Center's Newly Expanded Radiation Oncology Department Houses World's First MRI for Radiation Treatment Planning

PHILADELPHIA (February 22, 2000) -- Fox Chase Cancer Center will open its newly expanded, multi-million dollar radiation oncology department on February 28, 2000 featuring the world's first MRI to be used for cancer radiation treatment planning. Fox Chase Cancer Center's Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) facility represents only one of many high-tech upgrades in the department.

"Our multi-million dollar expansion propels the Fox Chase radiation oncology department into a league of its own by teaming a superb group of radiation oncologists with the most advanced equipment available today," said Gerald Hanks, M.D., chairman of the radiation oncology department. "This new equipment will improve treatment for our most common cancer populations including breast, prostate, gastrointestinal, gynecologic and lymphomas, by making treatment faster, more accurate and delivered with greater precision. Our investment in this new department reinforces our commitment to reducing the burden of cancer."

Under the leadership of Dr. Hanks, the Fox Chase faculty has developed treatment programs that have set national standards for radiation oncology.

"Improvements in treatment are critical, and directed at obtaining more cures. For example, our collaborative study with Picker International (Cleveland, OH) using MRI is expected to demonstrate the ability to isolate cancerous tumors so that we can deliver higher doses of radiation. By delivering higher doses to only the cancer, we not only eliminate side effects of treatment, but increase survival," Hanks added.

Nearly seven million dollars were invested in the purchase of new equipment. Fox Chase treats more than 150 patients each day with radiation therapy. The department has purchased four new linear accelerators (Siemens, Concord, CA); one of which is specially designed to deliver intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), or high-dose radiation.

In 1989, Dr. Hanks pioneered the use of 3D Conformal Radiation Therapy (CRT) for the treatment of prostate cancer. 3D CRT decreases the side effects of radiation by allowing a custom-shaped radiation field that conforms to the cancer while protecting the surrounding normal tissue. Fox Chase remains on the cutting edge, continually refining the process to improve cancer control.

Also included in the newly expanded department is the introduction of digital radiography or filmless X-rays. Digital radiography will allow a technician to enhance an X-ray image by adjusting the contrast and/or size using a computer. This system will also allow the image to be electronically archived without the need for heavy, bulky film. Digital radiography also makes ready the use of telemedicine, the electronic transfer of medical information via computer.

The new radiation oncology department will begin seeing new patients on February 28 in its new location, the lower level of the Research Institute for Cancer Prevention at Fox Chase Cancer Center. The construction of the Pavilion offered an opportunity to utilize the space and location of a new undertaking to house the growing numbers of patients seeking radiation treatment.

Fox Chase Cancer Center, one of the nation's first comprehensive cancer centers designated by the National Cancer Institute in 1974, conducts basic and clinical research; programs of prevention, detection and treatment of cancer; and community outreach. For more information about Fox Chase activities, visit the Center's web site at

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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