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Temple and Fox Chase partner on research and education

Temple University School of Medicine and the Fox Chase Cancer Center have announced a new partnership that will enable Fox Chase scientists to join the Temple faculty and train Temple graduate students in the biomedical sciences. The institutions will also share strengths and resources to collaborate on a new translational research initiative.

The arrangement is similar to those made between other medical schools and cancer centers, such as Weill-Cornell College of Medicine and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, to expand capabilities and increase opportunities for scientists and students.

Fox Chase is a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, which has consistently ranked among the top 10 cancer centers in our nation, said Richard Coico, Ph.D., professor of microbiology and immunology and senior associate dean for research at Temple University School of Medicine.

Prior to developing this new educational alliance, we already had several established clinical initiatives. The joint Fox Chase-Temple Bone Marrow Transplant Program was implemented 19 years ago and has now performed more than 1,000 transplants. Fox Chase also participates in Temples internal medicine residency program. And the Department of Public Health, including the Center for Asian Health, has several ongoing collaborative projects with Fox Chase," Coico said.

Given this successful track record and the outstanding scientific credentials of Fox Chases members, the extension of our partnership was inevitable. The tipping point that brought us to where we are today is, in large part, the result of our mutual desire to identify synergistic opportunities to help us advance our research missions, Coico added.

We are excited to take another significant step in our developing relationship with Temple, said J. Robert Beck, M.D., senior vice president and chief academic officer at Fox Chase Cancer Center.

Temple University, through its Fels Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Biology, has a distinguished history in basic investigation related to cancer. Fox Chase has a substantial research portfolio as well, and recently we were identified by The Scientist as one of the 10 best places in America for postdoctoral fellows to train. This partnership also will allow our faculty to benefit through training predoctoral students, with increased opportunities for collaborative research, Beck said.

Interested Fox Chase Cancer Center physicians and scientists can apply for faculty appointments in one of eight basic science departments at Temples School of Medicine. Once they become faculty members, they can select and train School of Medicine graduate (Ph.D.) students who will work in their research labs. Initially, there will be three students training at Fox Chase, and the plan is to build gradually from there. Currently, there are 125 graduate students at Temples School of Medicine. There will be no cap on the number of Fox Chase faculty appointments.

Members of Fox Chase will also be involved in the didactic component of Temples graduate programs. Their teaching activities will not only broaden the intellectual horsepower of the graduate faculty, but also will give students a chance to meet Fox Chase members who are interested in mentoring Temple graduate students during the research phase of their training.

If you were to survey scientists on the most important members of their lab, most would enthusiastically reply, graduate students, Coico said. Incredibly motivated, graduate students have a fire in the belly and work very hard. And scientists love to work with the students. The payback from mentoring is immeasurable.

Temple graduate students will now have a wider range of training opportunities from which to choose, including a new joint program in bioinformatics that would be housed at Fox Chase and offered through Temple.

Fox Chase already runs a robust bioinformatics facility, a core resource that Temple scientists can now utilize. At the same time, Fox Chase scientists can tap into Temple core research facilities including biostatistics, flow cytometry, proteomics, histology, biomedical physics, pharmacokinetics and pharmacogenomics.

Another boon for both institutions will be the collaboration on the newly created Institute for Translational Medicine, which also includes Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pa. Increasingly, medical research today is interdisciplinary and translational, requiring teams of researchers from many disciplines to apply basic research findings to patient care and treatment.

The institute will cut across disciplines and institutions by establishing an infrastructure to support clinical studies, form research teams, integrate community clinics into research and create new community outreach programs. To spur research collaborations, Temple and Fox Chase will jointly fund pilot projects for teams of investigators in the area of clinical and translational science.

Collectively, we serve one of the most diverse patient populations in our nation, and together, we are uniquely poised to make significant contributions to translational research discoveries of the future, Coico said.

Temple was awarded the National Institutes of Health Clinical and Translational Science Planning Grant in 2006. Support from this grant allowed the development of the masters program in Clinical Research and Translational Sciences, as well as the training and education of faculty in translational science research. The School of Medicine aims to become a designated NIH Institutional Clinical and Translational Research Center, which will exponentially fortify the research venture.

Fox Chase Cancer Center is one of the leading freestanding cancer research and treatment centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as the nations first cancer hospital, Fox Chase became one of the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection and treatment, as well as community outreach.

With the launch of the Keystone Programs for Collaborative Discovery in early 2008, Fox Chase is committing significant intellectual and other resources to the pursuit of team-based science. In this approach to research, self-assembled teams of investigators across the spectrum of medical science disciplines join forces to address a significant question in cancer.

Temples research centers concentrate investigations in the following areas: cardiovascular disease; neurovirology; substance abuse; obesity and diabetes; cancer and molecular biology; thrombosis and pulmonary disease; and health disparities. The schools research enterprise currently has more than $47 million in annual expenditures, and it projects continued growth at a rate of 5 percent to 10 percent per year.


Contact: Eryn Jelesiewicz
Temple University

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