About Childhood Cancer
Childhood cancer typically refers to a cancer that is found in children and teens, and sometimes young adults. There are many types which can be found in different places throughout the body. Leukemia, a type of blood cancer, is the most common cancer in children. Cancer can also occur in organs and tissues such as the lymph nodes (lymphoma), nervous system (brain tumors) and muscles, bone and skin (solid tumors). Research efforts are directed at understanding the molecular, genetic and chemical bases of catastrophic diseases in children; identifying cures for such diseases; and promoting their prevention. Research is focused specifically on cancers, some acquired and inherited immunodeficiencies, sickle cell disease, infectious diseases and genetic disorders.
It will cost approximately $1 billion to operate St. Jude this year and the majority of that must come from generous donors. St. Jude has more than 3,600 employees, and there are currently 24 official partner sites in 17 different countries around the world.
St. Jude Today
St. Jude Global helps partner medical institutions develop tailored evidenced-based protocols for treating children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases. St. Jude physicians serve as mentors to physicians at partner sites and consult on difficult cases. They train nurses in the best practices in clinical care and work with pathologists on techniques for accurate diagnosis. They also partner with local fundraising foundations that support the medical programs. This model has proven to be highly effective in providing children in developing countries access to modern treatment and care. St. Jude also conducts long-term biostatistical investigations on the long-term outcomes of its patients and is the only pediatric research hospital that has been awarded a National Cancer Institute cancer center support grant. The St. Jude Affiliate Program also makes treatments developed as clinical trials at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® available to more children by offering much of the care close to home at hospitals around the U.S.
St. Jude continues to define the forefront of clinical care and research by aligning with Rady Children’s Hospital, San Diego. The unique alliance is designed to benefit both patient care and research efforts. It will enable St. Jude and Rady Children’s to combine their resources and expertise to pursue clinical trials.
Some of the highlights of what has occurred at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital® over the last twenty plus years include:
- St. Jude announced a new $412 million research center to advance discoveries against childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases (2018).
- St. Jude launched the St. Jude Cloud, the largest public repository of pediatric cancer genomics data, launches for researchers worldwide (2018).
- St. Jude was named the World Health Organization's first Collaborating Centre for Childhood Cancer (2018).
- St. Jude expanded its international reach with St. Jude Global to accelerate efforts to improve childhood cancer survival rates worldwide (2018).
- The World Health Organization and St. Jude announced a new global childhood cancer effort to cure at least 60 percent of children with six of the most common kinds of cancer worldwide by 2030 (2018).
- St. Jude opened the first proton therapy center dedicated solely to the treatment of children (2015).
- In a landmark study from St. Jude and Washington University in St. Louis, investigators found that 8.5 percent – nearly one in 10 – of patients studied was born with genetic changes or mutations that increased their cancer risk (2015).
- The Pediatric Cancer Genome Project was recognized as one of TIME magazine's top 100 new scientific discoveries (2013).
- The Pediatric Cancer Genome Project released the largest-ever compilation of whole genome data for free access by the global cancer research community (2012).
- A national study led by St. Jude shows that a drug commonly used to treat sickle cell anemia in adults is safe and effective in very young children – a dramatic advance in treatment of children with the inherited blood disorder (2011).
- St. Jude was the first children’s hospital to make a major investment in pediatric cancer genome sequencing. The St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital – Washington University Pediatric Cancer Genome Project has resulted in groundbreaking discoveries in several childhood cancers and laid the foundation for developing new treatments. Before this project, not even one pediatric cancer genome had ever been sequenced (2010).
- St. Jude pioneered the elimination of cranial irradiation in treating most leukemia patients, greatly reducing immediate and long-term effects in these patients (2009).
- St. Jude becomes the first and only pediatric cancer center to be designated as a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute (2008).
- St. Jude reported a 94 percent survival rate for a group of patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), a dramatic increase over the 1962 survival rate of 4 percent (2006).
- St. Jude measured the effect of radiation on a child's brain for the first time in a pioneering study of pediatric brain tumor patients (2001).
- Peter C. Doherty, PhD, chair of the St. Jude Department of Immunology, won the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for his groundbreaking work in the field of immunology (1996).
- The first bone marrow transplant in the world to treat osteogenesis imperfecta, a rare bone disease, was performed at St. Jude (1996).
- St. Jude became the first hospital in the world to perform gene therapy on a pediatric brain tumor patient (1995).
- St. Jude was the first to study a computer-based three-dimensional radiation therapy technique for pediatric brain tumor treatment to minimize damage to healthy tissue and preserve cognitive development in children (1995).