St. Jude president and chief executive officer, James R. Downing, M.D., spoke about giving all children the best chance against cancer and other illnesses in a far-reaching interview on the Innovate podcast series. Innovate features dialogues with influential advocates for change in the world.
Downing shared his personal story of how he became interested in medicine and how his intellectual curiosity created “a pathway” to become a leader in pediatric cancer research. Reflecting on a three-decade career in research, Downing is encouraged by the progress made to date. “It’s really quite amazing – not only for pediatric cancer, but also for many of the adult cancers,” said Downing.
He spoke about the driving motivation at St. Jude as an institution where each employee does everything possible to help the children and families who visit the hospital. “We [at St. Jude] need to do what others can’t do to advance the cure rates for children with cancer,” said Downing while explaining the hospital’s role in advancing the field for treatment and research.
Downing said that the challenges for the future include training the next generation of physicians, researchers and students, expanding precision medicine and developing clinical research consortia around the world to help more children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases.
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and cures childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. It is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. Treatments developed at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to 80 percent since the hospital opened more than 50 years ago. St. Jude freely shares the breakthroughs it makes, and every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children. Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing and food — because all a family should worry about is helping their child live. To learn more, visit stjude.org or follow St. Jude on social media at @stjuderesearch.