St. Jude Comprehensive Cancer Center

Hematological Malignancies Program

 

Hematological malignancies remain a leading cause of cancer-related death in children, despite therapeutic advances that have improved outcomes. The Hematological Malignancies Program, a multidisciplinary research program of the St. Jude Comprehensive Cancer Center, aims to improve the cure rates for childhood leukemias and lymphomas, while minimizing treatment-related adverse effects.

This established, highly interactive, transdisciplinary program has a long track record of major discoveries in cancer biology. The translation of these into new diagnostic and treatment approaches have changed the standard of care for children with hematological malignancies and sparked innovative precision medicine studies worldwide. Program accomplishments have had national and global impact in the diagnosis, classification and treatment of hematological malignancies.

Program Organization and Leadership

Members collaborate extensively within the Hematological Malignancies Program through three working groups focused on basic, translational and clinical research. Research efforts center on common and clinically problematic hematological malignancies, including acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), acute myeloid leukemia (AML), and relapsed leukemia. The program also conducts research efforts in important but less well-characterized malignancies, including infant leukemia, pediatric myelodysplasia, and lymphoma.

Our translational pipeline has led to multiple clinical trials implementing precision medicine approaches led by St. Jude, the Children’s Oncology Group, adult study groups, and national/international collaborative consortia. These trials are built on the foundation of our broad portfolio of preclinical studies validating oncogenic drivers and testing new therapies in engineered mouse models and patient-derived xenografts as well as novel discoveries in pharmacogenetics. Advances made by investigators in the program have had national and global impact in the diagnosis, classification, and treatment of hematological malignancies.

Members are drawn from several departments across St. Jude, including Pediatric Medicine, Hematology, Infectious Diseases, Oncology, Pathology, Bone Marrow Transplantation & Cellular Therapy, and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Charles Mullighan, MBBS, MD, and Ching-Hon Pui, MD, lead the program. Dr. Mullighan has made multiple seminal discoveries in the molecular pathogenesis of ALL and related disorders, and has led efforts to implement these discoveries in precision medicine trials. Dr. Pui, a world expert in ALL, has consistently translated laboratory discoveries to clinical care, leading to improved cure rate and quality of life of survivors globally.