St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, located in Memphis, Tennessee, is one of the world’s premier pediatric cancer research centers. Its mission is to find cures for children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases through research and treatment.
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, neurological diseases and genetic disorders.
The current basic and clinical research at St. Jude includes work in:
- gene therapy
- bone marrow transplantation
- biochemistry of normal and cancerous cells
- radiation treatment
- blood diseases
- resistance to therapy
- hereditary diseases
- neurological diseases
- pediatric AIDS
- psychological effects of catastrophic illnesses
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.
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).
St. Jude has treated children from all 50 states and from around the world. About 8,600 patients are seen at St. Jude annually, most of whom are treated on a continuing outpatient basis and are part of ongoing research programs. The hospital has 77 beds for patients requiring hospitalization during treatment. Most of our patients are treated as outpatients and stay in one of our housing facilities with rooms specifically designed and managed by us for families of children with cancer and other diseases. In addition, St. Jude also treats patients at its eight affiliate clinics.
Patients at St. Jude are referred by a physician, and nearly all patients have a disease currently under study and are eligible for a clinical trial.
St. Jude was founded by entertainer Danny Thomas and opened February 4, 1962. St. Jude is supported primarily by donations raised by its national fundraising and awareness organization, ALSAC, which was established by Danny expressly for the purpose of funding St. Jude. The hospital also receives assistance from federal grants (mainly through the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute), insurance and investments.
One of the most significant events to occur at St. Jude happened in 1996 when Peter Doherty, PhD, of the Department of Immunology was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. He shares the award with Rolf M. Zinkernagel, MD, of the University of Zurich. Their findings led to breakthroughs in the understanding and treatment of viral infections and cancers, and in the development of organ transplant procedures and vaccines. It is the highest award a scientist can receive.
Operations are overseen by the Boards of Directors and Governors. The research activities are reviewed annually by the Scientific Advisory Board, composed of internationally prominent physicians and scientists.
St. Jude currently has around 5000 employees, and plans to hire 1,400 more as part of our FY22-27 St. Jude Strategic Plan. It costs approximately $1.4 billion to operate St. Jude each year and the majority of that must come from generous donors.
The St. Jude Affiliate Program offers treatments and protocols from St. Jude to more children with care closer to home. St. Jude has eight affiliates:
- Baton Rouge, Louisiana
The St. Jude Baton Rouge Affiliate Clinic
- Charlotte, North Carolina
The St. Jude Affiliate Clinic at Novant Health Hemby Children’s Hospital
- Huntsville, Alabama
The St. Jude Affiliate Clinic at Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children
- Johnson City, Tennessee
The St. Jude Tri-Cities Affiliate Clinic
- Peoria, Illinois
The Jim and Trudy Maloof St. Jude Midwest Affiliate Clinic
- Shreveport, Louisiana
The St. Jude Shreveport Affiliate Clinic
- Springfield, Missouri
The St. Jude Affiliate Clinic at Mercy Children’s Hospital-Springfield
- Tulsa, Oklahoma
The St. Jude Affiliate Clinic at The Children’s Hospital at Saint Francis
- Baton Rouge, Louisiana
The mission of St. Jude Global is to improve the survival rate of children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases worldwide, through the sharing of knowledge, technology and organizational skills. St. Jude Global focuses on four core areas: capacity building and implementation, education, research, and advocacy and resource mobilization.
It is estimated that more than 400,000 children worldwide develop cancer each year, and nearly half of them are never diagnosed. The ambitious goal of St. Jude Global is to reduce disparities and improve access to, and quality of, care for children with cancer worldwide.
St. Jude created the St. Jude Global Alliance in 2018. By sharing resources, transferring knowledge and skills, and providing opportunities for communication and collaboration, the St. Jude Global Alliance creates a global network to pursue the shared vision of improving care and increasing survival rates for children with cancer and blood disorders worldwide.
As of late 2021, the St. Jude Global Alliance has grown to 127 institutions from 57 countries representing all seven St. Jude Global regions: Asia Pacific, Central and South America, China, Eastern Mediterranean, Eurasia, Mexico and Sub-Saharan Africa.
By partnering with medical institutions, tailored evidenced-based protocols are developed 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.
St. Jude Global trains nurses in 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.
In 2018, St. Jude became the first and only World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Childhood Cancer. St. Jude is serving as an implementation partner for the Global Initiative for Childhood Cancer, which has a goal to raise the survival rate of six common childhood cancers to 60% by 2030 around the world.
By launching the largest strategic investment in its nearly 60-year history, St. Jude is committing $12.9 billion over six years to accelerate research and treatment globally for children with catastrophic diseases.
The FY22–27 St. Jude Strategic Plan focuses on the expansion of patient care and clinical and laboratory-based research related to pediatric catastrophic illnesses, including work in cancer, blood disorders, neurological diseases and infectious diseases. To address the health care disparity of children who live in limited-resource countries, St. Jude will more than triple its investment in international efforts coordinated through St. Jude Global and the St. Jude Global Alliance.
The plan calls for an additional 2,300 jobs; the expenditure of $2.3 billion in new construction, renovation and capital needs; and the development of new research areas.
Learn more about the FY22–27 St. Jude Strategic Plan: Accelerating Progress Globally.