St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital was founded in 1962. The Cancer Center received its NCI designation in 1977 and was awarded status as a comprehensive cancer center by NCI in 2008. The hospital’s mission is to advance cures and means of prevention for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment.
St. Jude has a staff of more than 4,000, including over 160 researchers who are part of the Cancer Center. They are engaged in a broad spectrum of research, including discovery-oriented basic science research, the investigation of disease pathogenesis and drug resistance, biobehavioral and quality-of-life research, and therapeutic trials.
The Cancer Center supports five major interdisciplinary research programs that are organized with the specific intent of translating basic science discoveries into curative therapies for children with cancer, while minimizing long-term side effects. Our three disease-oriented programs focus on Developmental Biology and Solid Tumors, Hematological Malignancies, and Neurobiology and Brain Tumors; our Cancer Prevention and Control Program strives to improve the quality of life of individuals surviving childhood cancer; and our Cancer Genetics, Biochemistry and Cell Biology Program embeds basic cancer research within the heart of the center, facilitating direct interaction between the disease-oriented Programs and the major laboratory resources in the Center.
The department of Chemical Biology and Therapeutics at St. Jude provides the Center with advanced high-throughput drug screening and chemistry capabilities and our Pediatric Cancer Genome Project, a joint research initiative in pediatric cancer between St. Jude and the Genome Center of Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri has decoded the complete genomes of more than 700 childhood cancer patients.
The children who are accepted for cancer treatment at St. Jude are treated on disease-specific frontline protocols developed by Cancer Center investigators. The hospital also accepts children who have already been treated elsewhere and are eligible for transplantation, relapse, or Phase I or II clinical trials. Several major multi-institutional studies are centered at St. Jude, including the NCI-funded Childhood Cancer Survivors Study and the Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium. The St. Jude LIFE study is recruiting more than 4,000 alumni cancer survivors who were treated at the hospital to return for on-campus, clinical evaluations, every year, for life. The objectives of St. Jude LIFE are to describe the occurrence and timing of selected late effects as the age increases for the survivor population, as well as to identify treatment, genetic, demographic, behavioral and psychosocial related predictors.
Education programs at St. Jude include lectures, symposiums and the preparation of curriculum for the local pediatric practitioner community. Residents and students are part of the fabric of life at St. Jude. Outreach programs range from the local community to international partnerships, such as St. Jude Global, a major expansion of the former St. Jude International Outreach Program, a strategic initiative led by the St. Jude Department of Global Pediatric Medicine. St. Jude Global actively fosters the development of regional networks among our international partners and collaborators. This model of outreach moves beyond our successful one-on-one partnership approach by promoting self-sufficiency and the sharing of expertise among international sites. Through this model, we aim to accelerate global improvements in the clinical care of children with cancer and other life-threatening diseases.
* This profile was provided by the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.