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"Show me my way in life," prayed young Danny Thomas, "and I will build you a shrine."
When Thomas' entertainment career began to flourish, he contemplated the pledge he had made to St. Jude Thaddeus, patron saint of the hopeless. He would build a haven for the helpless. A facility where research would shine light into the darkness.A place of compassion that would treat children regardless of race, color, creed or their family's ability to pay.
Thomas' vision became a reality when St. Jude Children's Research Hospital opened February 4, 1962. During the past five decades, St. Jude has become the world's premier pediatric research institution. Danny Thomas said it best: "No child should die in the dawn of life."
During the next 50 years, St. Jude will continue that quest, further improving survival rates for childhood cancer and other catastrophic diseases.We will not stop until we reach 100%.
It's a promise.
"It took a rabble-rousing, hook-nosed comedian to get your attention, but it took your hearts and your loving minds and your generous souls to make this fabulous dream come true.... If I were to die this minute, I would know why I was born."
– Danny Thomas at St. Jude opening, February 4, 1962
"Your child has cancer." No words strike more fear into a parent's heart. In the early 1960s, those words meant almost certain death. The overall survival rate for childhood cancer was less than 20%; for the most common form of childhood cancer, acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), it was 4%. In spite of those appalling statistics, no institution was dedicated to fighting the scourge of childhood cancer, sickle cell disease and other catastrophic disorders. Then, St. Jude opened. The battle against catastrophic childhood diseases had begun.
In 1966, Pat Patchell (shown holding his boyhood portrait) was one of the first patients ever successfully taken off therapy for acute lymphoblastic leukemia, based on evidence that remission could be sustained. "How can you express enough thanks, when you were in dire straits and they saved you? It really is the greatest place," he says, 47 years later.
...Even before the hospital is built, research begins. ALSAC, the fundraising organization for St. Jude, presents a $10,000 Plough Inc. grant to Lemuel Diggs, MD, for his work on sickle cell disease. Diggs—who conducts his work at the University of Tennessee at Memphis—subsequently publishes the first comprehensive study of the disease and its impact on the African-American population.
...February 4, 1962 – The hospital opens in Memphis, Tennessee, before a crowd of 9,000 people.
...St. Jude opens during a turbulent era in American history. The star-shaped building designed by renowned African-American architect Paul Revere Williams immediately becomes the region's first fully integrated hospital. The integration of St. Jude also extends to the Memphis hotel industry. In order to house St. Jude families, a facility must agree to offer housing to anyone, regardless of race.
...St. Jude hires a scientific maverick to lead the fledgling hospital. Unlike most of his peers, Donald Pinkel, MD, has the audacity to believe that cures are possible. His unconventional approach toward the treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) initially draws objections from many in the scientific community. But thanks to a revolutionary "Total Therapy" regimen combining multiple anticancer drugs with radiation treatment, the survival rates begin to inch upward. Each of the Total Therapy trials builds upon the success of preceding studies—an approach that continues to this day.
...By the end of the hospital's first year of operation, more than 30 research projects have been instituted and four have been completed.
...The first immunologic method to diagnose solid tumors in children is developed at St. Jude.
...A group of St. Jude patients are the first acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) patients to ever be successfully taken off therapy, based on evidence that remission can be sustained.
...St. Jude researchers find that chemotherapy is effective against Ewing sarcoma, one of the most frequent malignant bone tumors in children. When combined with radiation, this treatment causes the survival rate to improve significantly.
..."This is the hospital for catastrophic diseases, and the most catastrophic problem in children is malnutrition," observes Dr. Donald Pinkel in the hospital's 1969 annual report. St. Jude research had shown that 25% of low-income children in Memphis were anemic, about one-third had parasitic infections and about 10% had growth impairments. St. Jude enrolls thousands of local infants in a successful nutritional program, which serves as the prototype for WIC, the federal health and nutrition program for women, infants and children.
"If you really want to get the most out of your money, invest in research. If someone discovers a new drug, it can be used for decades—even centuries, maybe—and affect millions of kids. That's why St. Jude is a research institution. Although the research is done in Memphis, it applies to children all over the world."
– Walter Hughes, MD, former Infectious Diseases chair
Angel Crum recently traveled from Ohio to Memphis to participate in the St. Jude LIFE long-term follow-up study. She marveled at the changes that have occurred since she underwent treatment for embryonal carcinoma in the 1970s and 1980s. "As soon as the plane touched down, I had all these thoughts going through my head," she muses. "What Danny Thomas did—not only for me but for other kids—is a blessing. The doctors said that I wouldn't live past the age of 12, but here I am! My motto is, 'I'm on an incredible journey through life.'"
...St. Jude issues a statement that would have been impossible a decade before: "Leukemia can no longer be considered an incurable disease."
...Researchers discover "calmodulin," a small protein that regulates many key activities within living cells.
...The hospital publishes a study that shows a 50% survival rate for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) using a combination of chemotherapy and radiation. This achievement revolutionizes leukemia therapy worldwide.
...The St. Jude Midwest Affiliate Clinic opens in Peoria, Illinois—the first of six domestic affiliate clinics nationwide.
...Hospital Director Donald Pinkel, MD, receives the Albert Lasker Clinical Medical Research Award for his contribution to the development of combination therapy for cancer.
...Alvin Mauer, MD, becomes the hospital's second director.
...St. Jude becomes the first hospital to identify important subtypes of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), including T-cell leukemia. This finding, which proves that ALL is not a single disease, leads to better risk classifications, new research directions and improved treatment.
...A new drug combination is found to be effective against leukemia that recurs after initial treatment. This leads to improved therapy for hundreds of leukemia patients, especially those with disease that is at high risk for early failure.
...The ALSAC Tower opens to house expanded St. Jude research programs. At its opening, then-President Gerald Ford calls it "a great day for our nation and for the children of our country stricken with catastrophic diseases." In 2005, the building is renamed in honor of Richard C. Shadyac Sr., ALSAC's fourth CEO.
...The World Health Organization (WHO) designates St. Jude as a Collaborating Center for the study of the transmission of influenza from animals to humans.
...The hospital launches the first major effort to understand the lifelong progression of sickle cell disease.
...Clinicians develop a treatment that is effective for 55% of patients with neuroblastoma, the second most common solid tumor in children.
...St. Jude develops a treatment that not only cures a type of pneumonia frequently fatal to children with compromised immune systems, but also prevents that disease as well as other bacterial infections. The treatment becomes even more important when it is shown to prevent the same type of pneumonia in patients with AIDS.
"There are two kinds of people in this world: The givers and the takers. The takers sometimes eat better, but the givers always sleep better."
– Danny Thomas
Kimberlin Wilson-George made medical history when she underwent a bone marrow transplant for acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and had a fortunate outcome: The procedure also cured her sickle cell anemia. "I tell people all the time that I am a walking miracle," Kimberlin says.
...Joseph Simone, MD, becomes the hospital's third director.
...Researchers discover that children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) can differ by as much as 10-fold in their ability to clear antileukemia drugs from their blood.
...Investigators discover that childhood leukemia patients who can retain anti-cancer drugs longer in higher concentrations are more likely to become long-term survivors than patients whose bodies remove the drug more rapidly. This marks the beginning of individualizing drug treatments for each child.
...A St. Jude patient with sickle cell disease is the first to be cured with a bone marrow transplant.
...Researchers pinpoint the first two specific genetic translocations known to cause acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
...Scientists find evidence that some patients have a mixture of two acute leukemias: myeloid and lymphoid.
...Scientists develop a novel method to identify patients with neuroblastoma who are likely to have a poor response to therapy. This information allows clinicians to concentrate on this high-risk group while sparing others the toxicity of intensive treatment.
...Rearrangement of the genetic material within human chromosomes is found to be an important factor in how a child with leukemia responds to treatment.
...St. Jude establishes a clinic specifically for cancer survivors. Today, the After Completion of Therapy Clinic is the world's largest long-term follow-up clinic for pediatric cancer patients.
...The hospital's new brain tumor program begins accepting patients. Unlike other hospitals, St. Jude provides an integrated and personalized treatment plan for each child.
...Scientists find alterations in a gene that codes for a growth factor receptor of certain types of white blood cells. This helps transform normal cells into leukemia cells and is responsible for their spread throughout the body.
...St. Jude launches a pilot study showing that chemotherapy can be added after surgery to delay irradiation in infants and young children with brain tumors. This allows the children's brains more time to mature before undergoing irradiation, thus reducing the side effects of treatment.
...The St. Jude Board of Governors declines an invitation to move St. Jude to St. Louis, Missouri. Afterward, the hospital has a renewed sense of resolve to fulfill its potential.
...Using risk-directed therapy, clinicians begin reducing the amount of cranial irradiation for children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
...Founder Danny Thomas announces that HIV/AIDS falls within the parameters of the St. Jude mission. As a result, the hospital institutes a clinical program to seek a cure for pediatric AIDS.
...Children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) at St. Jude no longer receive chemotherapy based on their size. Treatment is now based on each child's ability to break down drugs in the body.
...Charles Sherr, MD, PhD, Tumor Cell Biology chair, is appointed a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator.
...Robert Webster, PhD, of Virology is elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London.
"The greatest reward is the smiles on the faces of the children whose lives you've helped save."
– Danny Thomas
Gabriela Salinas came to the United States from Bolivia in 1996, seeking treatment for a solid tumor known as Ewing sarcoma. At St. Jude, Gabby and her family found hope, healing and inspiration. Today, Gabby works in the hospital's Chemical Biology and Therapeutics department, giving back to the hospital that saved her life.
...Researchers determine that the risk of developing secondary acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is low or negligible in children treated for malignant solid tumors.
...St. Jude clinicians successfully use radioactive implants to treat childhood brain tumors.
...Blood cell growth factors are found to counteract life- threatening bone marrow depletion caused by the toxic effects of intensive chemotherapy.
...St. Jude is the first to use gene marking to follow the course of bone marrow transplantation in children.
...St. Jude scientists discover that an antimalarial drug can prevent or effectively treat a life-threatening form of pneumonia in patients with AIDS.
...Danny Thomas dies February 6, two days after helping
St. Jude celebrate its 29th anniversary.
...The survival rate for ALL reaches 73%.
...The Danny Thomas Research Tower opens, with then-first lady Barbara Bush attending the dedication.
...The Ronald McDonald House of Memphis opens, providing housing for St. Jude patients and their families.
...By measuring the number of copies of the N-myc gene in neuroblastoma patients, St. Jude researchers individualize chemotherapy for those children.
...Mammalian G1 cyclins (types of proteins involved in initiating cell cycles) are identified and associated with the development of certain cancers.
...St. Jude forms a Pediatric AIDS Clinical Trial Unit with two other Memphis area hospitals.
...Scientists identify key genes involved in two immunodeficiency diseases in male children, which creates a major contribution to the knowledge of hereditary disorders.
...Arthur Nienhuis, MD, becomes the hospital's fourth director and CEO.
...A new and expanded Patient Care Center opens, with then-first lady Hillary Clinton as an honored guest.
...HIV infections are shown to be preventable by chemotherapy. The AIDS Clinical Trials Unit participates in a study showing that infants are at lower risk of acquiring HIV when ziduvodine, or AZT, is given to infected pregnant women and babies after birth.
...Targeted T-cells are used as cell therapy against Epstein-Barr virus lymphoma.
...Cancer survival rates for African-American children are shown to have reached parity with Caucasian children when treated with protocol-based therapy.
...St. Jude is the first to adapt a computer-based, 3-D radiation therapy technique for pediatric brain tumor treatment.
...Charles Sherr, MD, PhD, Tumor Cell Biology chair, is elected to the National Academy of Sciences.
...Peter Doherty, PhD, St. Jude Immunology chair, is awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. He and Rolf M. Zinkernagel, MD, PhD, of the University of Zurich share the prize for their pioneering research explaining how the immune system recognizes and kills virus-infected cells.
...By opening vector production labs, St. Jude becomes one of the few centers in the world with a comprehensive cell and gene therapy program.
...The world's first bone marrow transplant to treat osteogenesis imperfecta, a rare bone disease, is performed at St. Jude.
...Scientists demonstrate that bone marrow transplants from unrelated, genetically matched donors are as effective in treating childhood leukemia as those from patients' siblings who are genetically matched.
...While identifying a new cancer-fighting tumor suppressor gene called ARF, scientists discover that a single genetic locus encodes protein products that regulate the most frequently targeted biochemical pathways in cancers.
...James Ihle, PhD, Biochemistry chair, is named a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator.
...By individualizing the dosage of chemotherapy, scientists discover they can increase survival rates for children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) without causing excessive toxicity.
...Investigators determine that the JAK-2 enzyme is essential to the production of red blood cells and platelets.
...The survival rate for ALL reaches 80%.
...Discovery of a new strain of drug-tolerant bacteria helps investigators take the first steps in developing a drug to eradicate antibiotic-tolerant bacteria and possibly antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
...Peter Doherty, PhD, of Immunology and Robert Webster, PhD, of Virology are elected to the National Academy of Sciences.
...Target House opens for St. Jude families requiring long-term housing.
...A St. Jude study identifies a genetic defect that can predispose pediatric leukemia patients to develop secondary brain tumors. The investigators develop strategies to prevent this occurrence.
...Scientists determine that the Prox1 gene appears to play a primary role in lymphatic system development and might serve as a specific marker to analyze lymphatic system development.
...Scientists discover a cellular reason why some cells are resistant to standard anti-HIV drugs.
...Scientists find that a protein called BLNK is essential for normal development of the immune system.
...St. Jude researchers discover why removal of two small enzymes called SOCS proteins can have deadly consequences. Advances in understanding the functions of the SOCS1 gene, in particular, may have important clinical implications.
"In a way, these findings represent coming full circle. St. Jude was the first to introduce cranial radiation as a treatment strategy that advanced the cure of childhood ALL to 50%. Now, St. Jude is the first to show that we can successfully eliminate irradiation by optimizing chemotherapy."
– Dr. William E. Evans, St. Jude director and CEO
Since arriving at St. Jude in 2009 with a severe form of acute myeloid leukemia (AML), 10-year-old Brennan Simkins has undergone four bone marrow transplants. "St. Jude has been a tremendous gift to our family," says his mom, Tara.
...The Hartwell Center for Bioinformatics and Biotechnology opens. It integrates, in a single location, more state-of-the-art research technologies in computing and molecular science for the investigation of pediatric disease than any other such center in the world.
...The effect of radiation on a child's brain is measured for the first time in a pioneering study of pediatric brain tumor patients. The study enables doctors to plan radiation therapy so as to spare normal brain areas that could be negatively affected by radiation.
...Researchers discover the world's first "universal" stem cell marker.
...St. Jude launches the Cure4Kids website. It provides clinicians worldwide with a free and open online meeting place for clinical discussions of childhood catastrophic diseases.
...The Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences elects its first members from St. Jude: then-hospital Director Arthur Nienhuis, MD, and William E. Evans, PharmD, who would become St. Jude director and CEO in 2004.
...Scientists unveil a genetic screening technique using microarray chips that provides a new approach to diagnosing and treating acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). The test is more than 95% accurate in diagnosing the known ALL subtypes and can identify new prognostic details.
...The Integrated Research Center opens, housing 10 floors of research facilities.
...Using a reverse genetics system devised at St. Jude, scientists create a harmless version of avian influenza to be used as the master seed for vaccine manufacturing. The team produces a vaccine in only four weeks.
...A St. Jude study comparing long-term outcomes of children treated for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) shows that black children can do as well as white children if given equal access to the latest treatments.
...St. Jude becomes the nation's first pediatric cancer research center to open a Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) facility for producing vaccines, proteins, gene-based molecules and other biopharmaceuticals.
...The hospital's sickle cell program is named one of 10 Comprehensive Sickle Cell Centers by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
...Investigators discover numerous genes that alter their level of activity in characteristic patterns in response to specific chemotherapy treatments. The genes are identified in the leukemia cells of children undergoing chemotherapy for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
...Dr. William E. Evans becomes the hospital's fifth director and CEO.
...A St. Jude study shows that conformal radiation kills tumors in children with the brain tumor ependymoma, while sparing normal tissues.
...A study of children and adults finds that leukemic cells of each major known prognostic subtype of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) have a specific signature of gene expression.
...Investigators develop a laboratory model that closely mimics the human eye cancer retinoblastoma, giving scientists a way to test new therapies for this disease in the lab.
...Charles Sherr, MD, PhD, Tumor Cell Biology chair, is elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.
...The acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) survival rate reaches 85%.
...The Memphis Grizzlies House opens, providing short-term housing for St. Jude families.
...Researchers find that by detecting the presence of the ERBB2 protein in tumor samples, doctors might be able to predict which children with the brain tumor medulloblastoma will require alternative therapies.
...Brenda Schulman, PhD, of Structural Biology and Genetics and Tumor Cell Biology, is named a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator.
...Researchers show that certain traits inherited from parents can reduce the effectiveness of some chemotherapy drugs in children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). This finding enables clinicians to identify patients at high or low risk of relapsing.
...Thomas Curran, PhD, Developmental Neurobiology's founding chair, is elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London.
...Investigators discover that a specific pattern of gene expression in leukemic cells is linked to their resistance to anti-leukemic drugs. This finding helps to explain why standard therapies fail to cure about 20% of children with ALL.
...St. Jude reports a 94% survival rate for patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), using therapy that does not include radiation.
...St. Jude is named No. 1 on The Scientist's Best Places to Work in Academia list.
...Researchers use gene expression profiling to discover five subtypes of medulloblastoma, which was previously thought to be one disease.
...Improved treatment raises the survival rate of the brain tumor medulloblastoma to 85% for average-risk patients and 70% for high-risk patients. In average-risk patients, these rates are achieved while reducing the amount of radiation and length of chemotherapy following surgery.
...Scientists demonstrate that a new, locally applied treatment for the eye cancer retinoblastoma greatly reduces the size of the tumor without causing the side effects common with standard chemotherapy.
...Researchers discover previously unsuspected mutations that contribute to the formation of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). The study generates worldwide excitement because it demonstrates a practical approach to screening large numbers of genes for mutations in order to identify unsuspected mutations in adult as well as pediatric cancers.
...St. Jude is designated one of six Centers of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a part of the National Institutes of Health.
...Investigators report the discovery of inherited variations in certain genes that make children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) susceptible to the toxic side effects caused by chemotherapy medications.
...Researchers show that a drug used for attention deficit disorder helps improve the attention, social skills and behavior of children treated for brain tumors and ALL.
...Scientists discover that brain tumors arise from cancer stem cells that live within microscopic protective "niches" formed by blood vessels in the brain. Disrupting these niches is a promising strategy for eliminating the tumors and preventing them from re-growing.
...Investigators shed new light on why some children with an aggressive form of leukemia termed Philadelphia chromosome-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) do not benefit from treatment.
...St. Jude researchers discover that a gene called BRCA2 plays a dual role in the developing nervous system, eliminating errors in the DNA of newly made copies of chromosomes and suppressing the onset of medulloblastoma.
...The St. Jude LIFE study begins. This initiative is one of the most ambitious follow-up projects ever conceived. It aims to bring thousands of St. Jude cancer survivors back to the place where they were treated as children to study the long-term effects of their disease and its treatment.
...Chili's Care Center, a state-of-the-art research and clinical care building, opens to house major research initiatives in diagnostic and therapeutic radiology.
...Scientists identify the specific cell that causes eye cancer, disproving a long-held theory. Researchers find that certain mutations enable specific cells in the retina to multiply and cause retinoblastoma.
...Investigators discover that a common housekeeping mechanism most cells use to keep their interiors healthy also helps immune system cells engulf and destroy germs.
...St. Jude physicians demonstrate that children with bilateral Wilms tumor, a cancer of the kidneys, can retain normal function in both kidneys by undergoing a procedure called bilateral nephron-sparing surgery, even when preoperative scans suggest that the tumors are inoperable.
...Kay Kafe, the hospital's renovated and expanded cafeteria, opens. St. Jude purposefully has just one cafeteria for all patients, families, physicians and staff.
...Peter Doherty, PhD, of Immunology is elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.
...Investigators show how to predict if a child who is infected with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) while being treated for cancer or another catastrophic disease is at high risk for developing severe infection.
...Researchers discover that the drug amifostine is effective in preventing deafness in children with localized medulloblastoma.
...St. Jude is designated as a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center, making St. Jude the first and only cancer center solely focused on pediatric cancer to receive this distinction.
...The first therapeutic monoclonal antibody produced by the Children's GMP, LLC, is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in clinical trials. The antibody is primarily produced to treat neuroblastoma.
...Researchers find evidence that a series of genetic mutations work together to cause BCR-ABL1-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), an aggressive and often fatal form of leukemia. The researchers also find that loss of the IKZF1 gene accompanies the transformation of chronic myeloid leukemias to a life-threatening, acute stage.
...Scientists identify distinctive genetic changes that cause relapse in children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
...Investigators discover in children with ALL scores of inherited genetic variations that clinicians might be able to use as guideposts for designing more effective chemotherapy for this cancer.
...Parents magazine names St. Jude as the nation's No. 1 pediatric cancer care hospital.
...St. Jude receives a perfect score by the Joint Commission, a national organization that accredits health care organizations and programs in the United States.
...Researchers identify mutations in the IKAROS gene that predict a high likelihood of relapse in children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). By using a molecular test to identify this genetic marker, physicians should be better able to assign patients to appropriate therapies.
...St. Jude announces that, with individualized chemotherapy, cranial irradiation can be totally eliminated from the treatment of children with leukemia.
...The most comprehensive analysis yet of the genome of childhood acute myeloid leukemia finds only a few mistakes in the genetic blueprint, suggesting the cancer arises from just a handful of missteps.
...Mary Relling, PharmD, Pharmaceutical Sciences chair, and Michael Kastan, MD, PhD, then-director of the St. Jude Comprehensive Cancer Center, are elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.
...Nurses and staff in the Intensive Care Unit are recognized by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses with the Beacon Award for Critical Care Excellence. They will win the award again in 2010.
...Scientists identify a subtype of acute T-lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) that is resistant to standard chemotherapy. Clinicians plan to use this new insight to diagnose T-ALL and to use bone marrow transplantation to more effectively treat it.
...St. Jude scientists identify inherited variations in two genes, ARID5B and IKZF1, that account for 37% of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Variations in ARID5B might also influence patient responses to chemotherapy.
...Scientists who represent the hospital's interdisciplinary team studying ALL receive the American Association for Cancer Research's Team Science Award.
"The St. Jude Children's Research Hospital – Washington University Pediatric Cancer Genome Project is the largest and most powerful single initiative in the history of St. Jude. This is an exciting time for St. Jude. But it's an even more exciting time for children worldwide."
– Dr. William E. Evans, St. Jude director and CEO
Just before Maggie Cupit was to embark on a college study program at St. Jude, doctors discovered that she had Ewing sarcoma. Instead of experiencing St. Jude as a student, she learned about it from a patient's perspective. "St. Jude is not a place of mourning," Maggie says. "It's a happy, positive place full of people all going through the same thing." She recently returned to the hospital—this time as a student.
...St. Jude engages in the world's largest effort to identify the genetic changes that give rise to some of the world's deadliest cancers. The St. Jude Children's Research Hospital – Washington University Pediatric Cancer Genome Project (PCGP) holds promise for developing improved approaches to diagnosing, treating and perhaps even preventing certain cancers.
...Survival rates for children with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) treated on a St. Jude protocol rise to 71%—20% better than previously reported U.S. rates.
...Scientists discover that the subtypes of the brain tumors medulloblastoma and ependymoma arise from different types of brain cells.
...By screening a vast chemical library, an international team led by St. Jude identifies more than 1,100 compounds with confirmed activity against a deadly malaria parasite.
...U.S. News & World Report names St. Jude as the nation's top children's cancer hospital in its Best Children's Hospitals rankings.
...The most comprehensive analysis yet of childhood high-grade glioma finds significant differences in the molecular features underlying the pediatric and adult forms of the cancer. Investigators identify a gene named PDGFRA as unusually active in some of the childhood tumors.
...Scientists find that patients in recent eras, who likely received treatments tailored to risk status, are not only surviving their cancer, but are also less likely to die later of treatment-related complications.
...Bone marrow transplant survival more than doubles for young, high-risk leukemia patients treated at St. Jude, with patients who lack genetically matched donors recording the most significant gains. The results are believed to be the best ever reported for leukemia patients undergoing bone marrow transplantation.
...St. Jude is named one of the country's "100 Best Companies to Work For" by FORTUNE magazine, a designation that is repeated in 2012.
...New research shows a drug commonly used to treat sickle cell anemia in adults reduces bouts of acute pain and a pneumonia-like illness, cuts hospitalization time and eases other symptoms of the disease in young patients.
...Researchers tie a genetic variation characteristic of Native American ancestry to higher risk of relapse in young leukemia patients. Scientists find evidence that additional chemotherapy could eliminate the added risk.
...Investigators working on the Pediatric Cancer Genome Project develop a dramatically better computer tool for finding the genetic missteps that fuel cancer.
...For the sixth consecutive year, St. Jude is named as one of the top 10 institutions in the annual "Best Places to Work in Academia" list by The Scientist magazine.
...Researchers identify promising new therapies for the brain tumor ependymoma. The drugs are found by screening 5,303 compounds for activity against the tumor.
...A study of gene therapy developed at St. Jude and University College London offers first proof that the treatment benefits adults with hemophilia B, reducing the need for clotting factor to prevent bleeds.
...Work led by St. Jude scientists pinpoints genetic factors that make Hispanic children more likely than those from other racial and ethnic backgrounds to receive acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) diagnoses and to die of the disease.
...Pediatric Cancer Genome Project (PCGP) scientists identify the mechanism that makes the childhood eye tumor retinoblastoma so aggressive and causes the tumor to develop so rapidly. The finding also leads investigators to a new treatment target and possible therapy.
...PCGP investigators discover that early T-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), a subtype of leukemia with a poor prognosis, is fueled by mutations in pathways distinctly different from a seemingly similar leukemia associated with a much better outcome. The findings highlight a possible new strategy for treatment.
...PCGP researchers discover that nearly 80% of diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma tumors have mutations in genes not previously tied to cancer. The alterations may play a unique role in other aggressive pediatric brain tumors as well.