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September 27, 2017

Fox Chase receives historic gift to establish Pancreatic Cancer Institute

Medicine Cancer Research
092717_FoxChasemain Source/Fox Chase Cancer Center

Fox Chase Cancer Center, part of Temple Health, is located at 333 Cottman Ave.

A multimillion-dollar gift to the Fox Chase Cancer Center, the largest in the facility's 113-year history, will fund the establishment of a new pancreatic cancer institute whose mission will be to advance research on one of the deadliest conditions in the United States.

Co-chaired by researchers Igor Astsaturov and Edna Cukierman, the Marvin and Concetta Greenberg Pancreatic Cancer Institute aims to achieve breakthroughs in both early detection and treatment options. In addition to identifying new therapies and markers for detection, their work focuses on the influence of diet and environment in the development of exocrine and endocrine pancreatic cancers.

“Our emphasis is on seeking ways to deactivate the cancer-promoting behavior of the pancreatic tumor microenvironment, or ideally to make it work against the tumor,” Cukierman said in a statement.

Survival rates for all forms of pancreatic cancer, most of which originate in the organ's exocrine cells, currently stand around 20 percent a year and just 7 percent after five years, according to the American Cancer Society.

In addition to various initiatives targeting the microenvironment of tumors and the capacity of the natural immune system, the gift will fund postdoctoral fellows and the establishment of national and international collaborations.

Concetta Greenberg's philanthropy at Fox Chase began 15 years ago and expanded after her husband, Dr. Marvin S. Greenberg, died of pancreatic cancer in 2008.

“Pancreatic cancer is expected to become the second leading cause of cancer death by 2030, and the need for better detection and treatment strategies is urgent,” said Richard I. Fisher, president and CEO of Fox Chase. “We are sincerely grateful to Chet for making it possible for our faculty to ask new questions, explore what is possible, and push us further.”