St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is one of the world's premier research centers focusing on catastrophic diseases of childhood. The hospital opened in 1962 through the efforts of Danny Thomas, the late entertainer. Since that time, St. Jude has grown into an internationally recognized biomedical research center dedicated to finding cures for illnesses of childhood including leukemias, lymphomas, solid tumors, specific infectious diseases including AIDS, and hematologic disorders. St. Jude is the only pediatric cancer center to be an NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center and is part of the NIH-funded, Pediatric AIDS Clinical Trial Group. Presently there are 94 clinical and 93 basic scientist faculty and 272 postdoctoral fellows. The Pharmaceutical Sciences faculty has appointments and direct graduate students at the University of Tennessee, Memphis, Colleges of Pharmacy and Medicine.
Our new patient care building was completed in 1994. This facility houses 62 inpatient beds, a surgical suite and an intensive care unit. Approximately 629 new patients are seen annually with 58,042 outpatient visits. Essentially all patients receiving care at St. Jude are children with cancer and are eligible for an active clinical research protocol. Patients are accepted for treatment at St. Jude irrespective of their ability to pay for their care. Pharmaceutical department translational research is generally incorporated into major clinical research protocols.
The Pharmaceutical Sciences laboratories are located in the 240,000 square foot Danny Thomas Research Tower.
A new facility to house an expanded animal resource center to allow more research with transgenic and knockout mice has been constructed. Each 660 sq. ft. laboratory is state-of-the-art, with additional areas allocated for tissue culture, cold room storage, ultracentrifuges and other shared equipment. Shared resources are available in bioinformatics, biostatistics, cell microinjection, central data and protocol management, electron microscopy, molecular resources, pharmacokinetics, transgenic mouse technology, and several other areas.
The Pharmaceutical Department is staffed with seven faculty, 10-13 post-doctoral fellows, 21 research technologists, 11 pharmacists, five research nurses, seven computing experts, and more than 30 technical and support staff members. All departmental faculty have NIH-supported research programs.
Faculty offices are immediately adjacent to the laboratory space. Analytical capabilities include multiple automated HPLC systems utilizing electrochemical, UV absorbance, and fluorescence detection; atomic absorption spectrophotometer; automated gas chromatographs with flame ionization, nitrogen-phosphorus, or mass spectrometer detection; ELISA; immunoassay (eg, FPIA/TDx); scintillation counter; and equilibrium dialysis systems. The laboratory is a fully-functional molecular biologic laboratory, with a dark room, a "clean" hood for DNA extraction and PCR set-up, and cell culture facilities for bioassays. The department houses an NIH-funded Cancer Center Core Pharmacokinetics shared resource, a Solid Tumor Program Project Pharmacology Core Laboratory, and is accredited by the College of American Pathologists for clinical drug assays to support patient care.
Fellows have access to personal computers which participate in a campus-wide network and have access to administrative, clinical, and research computing resources. The primary pharmacokinetic modeling software for simulation and estimation in the individual is the ADAPT II package. For population modeling, NONMEM (with PDx-POP), S-ADAPT, and S-Plus/R are available. The Hartwell Center for Bioinformatics and Biotechnology provides high performance computing systems (eg, 420 CPU Linux Cluster, etc.), access and training to numerous applications (ie, GCG, Vector NTI, Spotfire, etc.) and access to Biotechnology Labs providing various chemistries and technologies (high-throughput DNA sequencing, genotyping, custom and commercial micro array technologies, proteomics, DNA and peptide synthesis, etc.)
Pharmaceutical Sciences laboratory investigations are fully integrated with and supported by departmental research nurses and pharmacists. Institutional data managers for the various interdisciplinary Cancer Center Programs (Hematologic Malignancies, Solid Malignancies, Bone Marrow Transplant) assist in tracking and computerizing relevant clinical data for the patients enrolled in the treatment protocols supported by Pharmaceutical Sciences studies. All patient samples are appropriately processed and received through the Pharmacokinetics Shared Resource, which assures proper storage, tracking, and distribution of samples in addition to supporting analytical assay quality control, study design, and biomedical modeling for the institution.