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News Room: Press Releases

Virtua takes part in national oncology research project

Three hospitals from Fox Chase Cancer Center Partners — Fox Chase’s affiliate network of community hospitals — have qualified to take part in the National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) Affiliate Research Project (ARP). Developed by the NCCN Oncology Research Program (ORP), the project is dedicated to improving patient outcomes and advancing clinical research through collaboration among NCCN; the 21 NCCN member institutions, including Fox Chase Cancer Center; and their community-based affiliate networks.

Affiliate sites of the ORP will have access to new and innovative cancer drugs for their patients in collaboration with NCCN member institutions, and principal investigators of NCCN-funded studies will have access to NCCN-qualified community sites.

Fox Chase Cancer Center Partners sites that will take part in the project are:

  • Virtua, including Hematology Oncology Associates of South Jersey, Mt. Holly, N.J.; and Comprehensive Cancer and Hematology Specialists, Voorhees, N.J.
  • AtlantiCare Cancer Care Institute, Egg Harbor Township, N.J.
  • South Jersey Healthcare, including Southern Oncology-Hematology Associates, PA, Vineland, N.J.; South Jersey Radiation Oncology, P.C., Vineland, N.J.; and The Minniti Center - Medical Oncology & Hematology, Mickleton, N.J.

“For 25 years, Fox Chase Cancer Center Partners has provided outstanding cancer care as well as a strong foundation for cancer research and education through its community hospital sites. Participation in the NCCN Affiliate Research Project demonstrates the program’s ongoing commitment to further clinical research and offer exciting new opportunities to the communities we serve,” said Mark L. Sobczak, M.D., chief network officer and senior vice president for networks of Fox Chase Cancer Center Partners. “We are especially pleased to congratulate Virtua, AtlantiCare, and South Jersey Healthcare on the outstanding achievement of qualifying for this national project.”

“Participation in the NCCN Affiliate Research Project will help us to increase the pace of clinical research while providing new opportunities for collaboration not only with Fox Chase Cancer Center but with cancer programs around the country,” added Ashok Bapat, MD, medical director for Virtua Fox Chase Cancer Program. “We are thrilled to be a part of this project.”

The NCCN ORP is organized to obtain funding for scientifically meritorious research projects at NCCN member institutions. The NCCN Investigator Steering Committee—a group of senior research physicians appointed by each NCCN member institution—sets the program’s policies and standards. To date, the program has received more than $36 million in research grants from pharmaceutical and biotech companies to support investigator-initiated trials including, but not limited to, evaluation of innovative regimens, mechanism of action, and exploration of extended uses for specific agents.

In addition to Fox Chase Cancer Center Partners, four other community sites—three affiliates of the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance and one affiliate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham Cancer Care Network—will participate in the ARP. NCCN plans to approve a minimum of three additional sites this year to potentially support more than 50 actively enrolling clinical trials.

As a Fox Chase Cancer Center Partner, Virtua has early access to new research discoveries on cancer prevention and treatment. Fox Chase Cancer Center Partners is a select group of community hospitals in Pennsylvania and New Jersey affiliated with Fox Chase Cancer Center to provide the latest in cancer research, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment in their own communities. Fox Chase Cancer Center Partners offers patients, families, and their physicians enhanced resources to deal with the burden of cancer, including the newest clinical trials.

As one of New Jersey’s largest health systems, Virtua helps people be well, get well and stay well through a comprehensive range of health care services. Services are delivered through three health and wellness centers, three fitness centers, three acute care hospitals, primary and specialty physician practices with more than 240 physicians, urgent care centers, nine ambulatory surgery centers, home health services, two long-term care and rehabilitation centers, 12 paramedic units and a wide range of outpatient services. A leader in maternal and child health services, Virtua delivers more than 8,000 babies a year. Virtua also provides employment and wellness services to 1,700 businesses and corporations. An innovator in clinical and information technology such as electronic medical records, Virtua is recognized for its ground-breaking partnerships with GE Healthcare, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and the Fox Chase Cancer Center. Virtua employs more than 8,700 people and has been honored as the #1 Best Place to Work in the Delaware Valley every year since 2007. It is the recipient of the Consumer Choice Award from the National Research Corporation. For more information, visit or