Today St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® named its new 625,000 square-foot research facility the Inspiration4 Advanced Research Center in honor of Inspiration4, the world’s first all-civilian space mission to orbit Earth led by Jared Isaacman, CEO of Shift4 Payments.
“The journey to space was a huge challenge but nothing compared to what these kids go through every day,” said Isaacman, who has personally committed more than $125 million to St. Jude. “It’s an honor for our mission to be linked to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and I am proud to stand with every St. Jude supporter motivated by the vision of a world where every kid can survive and thrive.”
The four-person crew for the three-day space mission also included St. Jude physician assistant and cancer survivor Hayley Arceneaux, Dr. Sian Proctor and Chris Sembroski. While in orbit, the crew collected data to help understand the effects of space on the human body and chatted in a live video call with St. Jude patients. To date, Inspiration4 has secured commitments of more than $240 million for St. Jude.
Amid cheers and applause, Isaacman joined the crew on the steps of the new research hub near a banner announcing the Center’s name. After the ceremony, Richard C. Shadyac Jr., president and CEO of ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, joined the crew for a tour of the Center as well as a brief tour of the hospital led by former St. Jude patients.
“The spirit of teamwork, exploration and courage that defined the Inspiration4 crew also fuels St. Jude researchers to accelerate progress in the understanding and treatment of childhood catastrophic diseases,” said James R. Downing, M.D., president and CEO of St. Jude. “The center, designed to foster creativity and interaction, inspires our scientists to push the bounds of discovery. The crew’s journey reminds our patients to never stop reaching for the stars.”
For nearly 60 years, St. Jude has been at the forefront of pediatric cancer care and research due to strategic investments in resources such as the Inspiration4 Advanced Research Center, which opened in April 2021. The facility can accommodate up to 1,000 employees focused on transformative science and is designed for collaboration across many scientific fields, including developmental neurobiology, immunology, cell and molecular biology, gene editing, metabolomics, advanced microscopy, epigenetics and genomics. It is home to specialized technology for conducting computational biology, using artificial intelligence, gene editing and analyzing cell samples via some of the world’s most advanced microscopes. There will be a biorepository onsite that contains tumor samples for sharing with researchers anywhere. These sophisticated resources and interdisciplinary collaborations keep St. Jude on the leading edge of research on pediatric cancer and other catastrophic diseases and help recruit the world’s best minds to accelerate research into new treatments and cures.
“Inspiration4 has helped inspire the world to rally around the cause of finding cures for childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases,” said Shadyac. “We are incredibly grateful for the extraordinary vision, leadership and generosity of Jared and the dedication and fearlessness of Dr. Sian Proctor, Chris Sembroski and our own Hayley Arceneaux. We’re thrilled to honor their legacy today and thank them and the millions of donors who believe in the mission of St. Jude and are making a difference in the lives of children everywhere.”
In addition to Isaacman’s commitment, more than 100 individuals and organizations have donated to the Inspiration4 Advanced Research Center. For instance, Sky High for Kids named the floor that is home to the Developmental Neurobiology Department. This critical support helps ensure as many kids as possible benefit from the research done at the center.
The Inspiration4 Advanced Research Center is part of ongoing St. Jude expansion projects including The Domino’s Village – a new 140-unit patient family residence – and proposed outpatient and clinical office buildings that will increase the number of new cancer patients treated at St. Jude each year. Donations from millions of people worldwide make possible these vital expansion projects and fuel the overarching $11.5 billion, six-year St. Jude strategic plan, which includes tripling St. Jude Children's Research Hospital’s global investment to impact the more than 400,000 kids with cancer around the world each year.
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About St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Its purpose is clear: Finding cures. Saving children.® It is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to more than 80 percent since the hospital opened more than 50 years ago. St. Jude won't stop until no child dies from cancer. 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. Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food. Visit St. Jude Inspire to discover powerful St. Jude stories of hope, strength, love and kindness. Join the St. Jude mission by visiting stjude.org, liking St. Jude on Facebook, following St. Jude on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok, and subscribing to its YouTube channel.