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St. Jude achieves consecutive highest rating from National Cancer Institute during Cancer Center renewal grant

Memphis, Tennessee, August 22, 2018

Aerial exterial St. Jude campus

For the second time in a row, the National Cancer Institute has awarded St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital the highest possible rank of “exceptional” and the best numerical score in the hospital’s history during the renewal of the hospital's $30 million Comprehensive Cancer Center grant.

St. Jude is the first and only NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center that is devoted solely to children. The designation and accompanying grant funds must be renewed every five years; St. Jude first earned an “exceptional” score in 2013. St. Jude has had the designation as an NCI Cancer Center since 1977, and first achieved comprehensive cancer center status in 2008.

“Every five years, the NCI reviews St. Jude to make sure we’re doing our best and most innovative research,” said Charles Roberts, M.D., Ph.D., St. Jude executive vice president and Cancer Center director. “Earning the rank of ‘exceptional,’ reflects ongoing growth in the appreciation of St. Jude as one of the world’s premier cancer research institutions.” 

A comprehensive cancer center must possess a deep and broad research-based portfolio that extends from the laboratory to the clinic, and must include population-based science. Centers must also be actively engaged in professional and public cancer education and outreach.

At St. Jude, the Comprehensive Cancer Center is organized as five cross-disciplinary, multi-departmental programs aligned to specific diseases and research concepts: Developmental Biology and Solid Tumor Program, Neurobiology and Brain Tumor Program, Hematological Malignancies Program, Cancer Control and Survivorship Program, and the Cancer Biology Program. Nine centralized shared resources with well-equipped facilities support the design, implementation, analysis, interpretation and reporting of research.

“Our Center forms the heart of our vision for cancer research at St. Jude, encompassing efforts from our laboratories to clinical trials for our patients,” Roberts said. “We also work collaboratively with researchers and institutions around the country and seek to help both our local community and children fighting cancer everywhere.”

James Downing, M.D., president and CEO of St. Jude, said the Cancer Center is an important point of pride for St. Jude.

“Our Cancer Center links all research efforts at St. Jude, from the lab to the clinic, and also works to help our community and educate the next generation of cancer researchers,” Downing said. “I’m very proud of our Cancer Center team for their contributions to our mission at St. Jude of finding cures and saving children.”

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% to 80% since the hospital opened more than 50 years ago. St. Jude shares the discoveries it makes, and every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children. To learn more, visit or follow St. Jude on social media at @stjuderesearch.