More than six years ago, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital outlined priorities that would allow us to accelerate progress in the research and treatment of childhood cancer and other deadly diseases. The resulting FY16–21 St. Jude Strategic Plan charted a path for clinical and scientific program growth, infrastructure expansion and reimagined international outreach efforts. Working together, we made incredible gains. Below are a few of the accomplishments that have laid the foundation for continued progress:
Providing new hope to patients and families
- Increased the number of new cancer patients accepted at St. Jude by 20%, providing each child with world-class medical care informed by the latest scientific research
- Increased the number of patients enrolled on St. Jude–led clinical trials both on campus and off
- Opened three new inpatient floors in the Kay Research and Care Center, providing a child-centric layout that includes family and staff respite spaces and interactive journey walls with exciting themes that encourage exercise, fellowship and mental stimulation
- Hired a clinical director, chief nursing executive, three department chairs and other leaders who helped inspire, excite and focus the workforce on our lifesaving mission
- Opened three specialty clinics—in pediatric melanoma, endocrine tumors and histiocytic disorders—that provide patients and families nationwide with expert consultations, medical exams, educational seminars and valuable resources
- Opened two new affiliate clinics, which enable children to receive care closer to their homes—bringing the total number of affiliate partners to eight that are spread across seven states in the South and Midwest
- Launched the Patient and Family Experience Office to implement new amenities for patients and families—such as a concierge service, a new Family Commons area and a redesigned school program
- Used gene therapy to cure X-linked severe combined immunodeficiency (X-SCID), or bubble boy disease, and transform the lives of individuals with Factor IX deficiency, a form of hemophilia
- Hired three senior faculty in Hematology to lead our efforts in experimental hematology, clinical hematology and bone marrow failure syndromes
- As part of Project SPARC (Serving Patients and Redefining Care), redesigned processes, spaces, roles and tools to improve operations, increase efficiency and enhance the work environment for health care providers, as well as the experience of patients and families
- Created Our St. Jude, a mobile app that offers patients and caregivers quick and easy access to personalized, real-time updates on clinical appointments, campus events and myriad other pivotal details
- Launched Together, a multilingual website that offers reliable and trustworthy information about childhood cancer biology, treatment and related psychosocial topics for patients and their families
Exploring new scientific boundaries
- Strengthened basic and translational laboratory-based research programs by hiring a scientific director, Cancer Center director and five new department chairs
- Invested more than $50 million in the infrastructure for structural biology, including cryo-electron microscopy, NMR spectroscopy and single-molecule analysis. This investment was complemented by the recruitment of new faculty into this department
- Developed five new shared resources: the Center for Advanced Genome Engineering, the Center for Applied Bioinformatics, the Center for Bioimaging informatics, the Preclinical Therapeutics Program and the Center for Modeling Pediatric Diseases
- Opened the St. Jude Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences to train the next generation of researchers
- Completed the Pediatric Cancer Genome Project, the world's most ambitious effort to discover the origins of pediatric cancer. Opened the clinical genomics service, which offers clinical genomic testing to every eligible cancer patient and established the Cancer Predisposition Clinic
- Established St. Jude Cloud, an online data-sharing and collaboration platform that provides researchers access to the world’s largest public repository of pediatric cancer genomics data
- Treated 800 patients in the world’s first proton therapy center dedicated solely to children
- Established a clinical cancer immunotherapy program, which creates treatments that harness patients’ own tumor-specific T cells for cancer treatment
- Completed construction of a three-story Data Center; a new Shared Resource Center, a 43,000-square-foot hub of discovery; and the Advanced Research Center, a $412 million research facility designed to inspire and support researchers and drive collaborations
Every child, everywhere
Finding cures and saving children—no matter where they live
- Hired an international leader and seven faculty members to guide the expansion of St. Jude's international efforts
- Created the Department of Global Pediatric Medicine, St. Jude Global, and the St. Jude Global Alliance to develop the workforce, health care systems, research expertise, infrastructure and methodology needed to meet the growing worldwide childhood cancer burden
- St. Jude designated as the first World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Center for Childhood Cancer
- Extended collaboration with WHO through a $15 million dollar investment from St. Jude to create the Global Childhood Cancer Initiative, a worldwide effort to advance cure rates for six of the most common types of cancer from less than 20% to 60% by 2030
- Created the St. Jude Global Academy and a Master of Science in Global Child Health program to train the clinical workforce required to improve access to care for children with cancer and life-threatening blood diseases in every corner of the world
- To expand the reach of St. Jude, signed formal partnership agreements with the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), International Society of Pediatric Oncology (SIOP), International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and other international organizations
- Developed the St. Jude Research Collaboratives program, which funds multidisciplinary teams of scientists to work together and fill in knowledge gaps, thereby tackling previously unanswerable questions. Five research collaboratives were funded for a total investment of approximately $40 million.
- Launched the Global COVID-19 Observatory and Resource Center for Childhood Cancer, an informational hub about kids with cancer and COVID-19, collecting data from nearly 50 countries
Culture of excellence
Uniting the best and brightest in life-saving work
- To accomplish our most ambitious goals, we hired a chief financial officer/chief administrative officer, chief information officer, Human Resources director, and Strategic Planning and Decision Support director
- Introduced the St. Jude Values to guide behaviors and decisions—ultimately empowering every employee to deliver on our mission
- To help fulfill the institution’s lifesaving mission, we grew the overall workforce by 23%
- Established Leadership Academy, an educational initiative designed to develop leaders at every level of the organization—and reimagined the Performance Management process as well as Your Voice, the annual employee satisfaction survey
- Created Diversity and Inclusion Office, focused on developing policies, procedures, programs and analytic capabilities to ensure that St. Jude is a welcoming place to all—and that employees have the opportunity and voice to make the most of their careers
- To unite and inspire faculty and staff and enhance collaboration, launched Town Hall meetings for all employees, a Blueprint Series to introduce staff to leaders, and other similar programs
- Unveiled Yammer, an internal social media platform; multiple community-building employee groups; and the St. Jude GO employee mobile app to foster a culture of continuous improvement, stewardship and operational excellence
- Opened an on-site health clinic and pharmacy to enhance the health and wellbeing of employees
- Enhanced data capabilities and related tools
Selected scientific and medical publications
Emerging from FY16-21 St. Jude Strategic Plan
New study suggests more than 8 percent of children with cancer have genetic predisposition
Pediatric Cancer Genome Project determines nearly one in ten of children with cancer have mutations in genes associated with cancer predisposition.
Discovery adds to evidence that some children are predisposed to develop leukemia
A family’s history of childhood leukemia leads to the discovery of a fourth gene (IKZF1) that predisposes carriers to pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Inherited mutation can predispose children to a type of brain tumor
Collaboration co-led by researchers at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital discovers a novel predisposition gene in pediatric medulloblastoma.
Genomic analysis underscores need for precision therapies that target pediatric cancer
The most comprehensive look ever across the genomic landscape of childhood cancer reinforces the need for precision medicine to treat pediatric cancer.
St. Jude unveils powerful resource to advance treatment of pediatric solid tumors
Childhood Solid Tumor Network offers the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of scientific resources for studying pediatric solid tumors
St. Jude creates resource for pediatric brain tumor research
Researchers worldwide can access orthotopic patient-derived xenograft models to speed discovery and test novel therapies for childhood brain tumors.
St. Jude researchers develop powerful interactive tool to mine data from cancer genome
ProteinPaint gives researchers a free, interactive tool for advancing understanding of the mutations that lead to and drive pediatric cancer.
Gene therapy pioneered at St. Jude shows early success against "bubble boy" disease
Health and immune function improved in patients with X-linked SCID, or bubble boy disease, who underwent gene therapy after other treatments failed.
St. Jude gene therapy cures babies with 'bubble boy' disease
Novel combination gene therapy pioneered at St. Jude cures "bubble boy" disease and provides template for treating other genetic disorders. Read about the landmark study.
Newly identified mechanism solves enduring mystery of key element of cellular organization
St. Jude study advances understanding of cellular organization and highlights a possible treatment strategy for degenerative diseases like ALS.
Metabolic signaling plays a crucial role in regulating specialized T cells
Scientists at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital have identified how metabolic signaling pathways influence key immune cells with implications for treating autoimmune disorders and cancer.
Researchers create a stickers-and-spacers model for predicting protein phase separation
By identifying these models, St. Jude researchers believe that they can predict liquid-liquid phase separation, which is an important activity for cells. Learn more.
Network of protein-RNA interaction guides phase separation
Scientists at St. Jude have identified a mechanism that controls how phase separation leads to the formation of stress granules in cells.
Global childhood cancer burden grows when years of life lost considered
A new study has for the first time looked at the global burden of pediatric cancer through the lens of years of affected and lost life.
Significant global investment could save 11 million children
A report shows an investment in treating children with cancer could save 11 million lives and produce a triple return on investment to the global economy.
Partnership with China prompts change in care for high-risk type of leukemia
Findings from a collaborative clinical trial have generated key insights into how targeted therapy should be used to treat leukemia driven by the Philadelphia chromosome.
Treating the TOTAL patient: clinical trial reduces relapse
Researchers at St. Jude have announced results of the Total Therapy Study 16 clinical trial, which tested strategies for lowering the rate of relapse of acute lymphoblastic leukemia in children from 2007–2017.
Comprehensive study of chronic disease reveals vulnerability of childhood cancer survivors
The severity and complexity of chronic disease in adult survivors of childhood cancer suggest that a new approach to healthcare delivery is needed.
How sweet it is: PeCanPIE serves up cancer variants
Powerful cancer data portal gets an upgrade to identify the genetic culprit for inherited cancer and possibly other genetic diseases.
Predicting secondary cancer risk in childhood cancer survivors
St. Jude scientists are studying the effect of cancer treatments and inherited mutations in DNA-repair genes.
To understand a childhood brain tumor, researchers turn to single-cell analysis
Research at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital digs into the cells of origin for key medulloblastoma subtypes.
Making the invisible visible: NMR insights set stage for next-gen targeted cancer therapies for adults and children
St. Jude researchers used leading-edge technology to visualize fleeting protein shapes with implications for resistance to targeted cancer treatments, NMR spectrometer
Molecular mechanisms reveal how to make the most of methotrexate
Scientists at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital have found five factors that explain why children respond differently to the chemotherapy drug methotrexate.
Genomic analysis of key acute leukemia will likely yield new therapies
Landmark study of T-lineage acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) reveals new mutations and drug development targets.
Definitive genomic study reveals alterations driving most medulloblastoma brain tumors
Landmark study of the most common pediatric brain tumor reveals new cancer genes and lays the foundation to expand precision medicine.
Researchers mine the epigenome to identify likely origins of childhood brain tumor subtype
Epigenome yields insights into medulloblastoma, the most common malignant pediatric brain tumor, including likely cell of origin for Group 4 subtype.
St. Jude trial identifies a medulloblastoma subset that requires less aggressive therapy
For a subset of the youngest patients with the brain tumor medulloblastoma, less aggressive therapy was associated with better long-term survival.
St. Jude researchers solve a central mystery of a baffling high-risk leukemia
Read the latest on the roots of mixed phenotype acute leukemia (MPAL), including how the findings might affect treatment of patients with the high-risk cancer.
Genomic analysis offers roadmap for diagnosis and treatment of a high-risk leukemia
Genomic analysis reveals the biology of acute erythroid leukemia, a rare cancer with few survivors
Understanding transporter proteins at a single-molecule level
Research co-led by a St. Jude investigator and researchers from Columbia University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute reveals the mechanics of how some transporter proteins function with stunning specificity.
Research reveals how the most common ALS mutation dooms cells
Toxic DPRs disrupt cell function in ALS, much like uninvited dinner party guests, and displace binding partners that help maintain normal nucleolus and ribosome assembly.
Building bridges: PARP enzymes bring broken DNA together
St. Jude researchers capture the structure of PARP enzymes at work, leading to a new understanding of DNA repair that may aid cancer treatments targeting the process.
Chemotherapy sometimes sets the stage for drug-resistant leukemia at relapse
An International collaboration has identified therapy-induced, drug-resistance mutations in children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia who relapse.
Study reveals properties of cells fated to relapse in acute lymphoblastic leukemia
Researchers have found that genetically defined subpopulations of leukemia cells present at diagnosis have distinct characteristics that lead to relapse.