Choosing St. Jude

Eligibility Requirements

Note: If you are a Referring Physician, please visit our physician referral information page.

St. Jude is a global resource focused solely on research and treatment for children with cancer and other life-threatening diseases. This focused approach to finding cures and saving children makes us different from most children’s hospitals.

What’s different about treatment at St. Jude?

St. Jude is continuously developing new, improved treatments for children with cancer and other life-threatening diseases. These new treatments are offered through clinical research trials that are also called research studies or protocols. Most of our patients—including more than 90 percent of our patients with cancer—are enrolled on a research study. We treat conditions that do not respond well to current standard treatments, offering new treatments we’ve developed that could prove to be more effective or have fewer side effects.

How are patients accepted?

In general, a child must be eligible for one of our open clinical research studies in order to be accepted for treatment at St. Jude. Each study specifies the age range and exact medical criteria for acceptance in that study. Medical criteria may include things like the exact type and stage of the child’s disease. If a child’s condition does not match an open study, we offer consultation and other options explained later in this section.

If your child has been diagnosed with a brain tumor, please see our eligibility requirements for brain tumor patients.

A child must also have a referral from a physician or qualified medical professional who can provide St. Jude with medical information. Every study has specific and often different requirements. For this reason, it is important that your child’s doctor contact us. For some of our studies, children can only be accepted if they have not yet begun treatment, so encourage you to have your medical provider contact us as early as possible.

Children who qualify for open clinical research studies are accepted regardless of race, sex, nationality, ethnicity, religion, or the family’s ability to pay. St. Jude must also have sufficient capacity within the treatment programs the patient needs in order to accept a new patient.

What if my child is not eligible for a St. Jude research study?

St. Jude has been instrumental in developing and improving many treatments that are now considered the standard therapy for pediatric cancer and other catastrophic diseases. If your child is not eligible for a St. Jude research study, we can help you identify a hospital near you offering an appropriate treatment program and we can provide ongoing consultation with the medical team caring for your child at that hospital.

If you live in the U.S. or one of its territories and do not live within a reasonable driving distance* of a hospital offering an appropriate treatment program, your child may qualify for treatment at St. Jude providing your child has a disease we are able to treat and we have sufficient capacity within the treatment program. If you do not live in the U.S. and your child does not qualify for a research study, we may be able to offer consultation. Please ask your doctor to contact our Physician/Patient Referral Office for information.

What about insurance?

No family ever pays St. Jude for anything. Insurance coverage is not needed and is not a factor in accepting patients. If your child is accepted for admission and you do not have insurance, St. Jude will cover all treatment costs. If you have insurance, St. Jude will work with your health insurance and will cover all treatment costs not covered by your insurance.

*To determine reasonable driving distance, St. Jude considers a variety of geographic factors.