Innovative Therapies

The past three decades have seen a vast improvement in the quality and quantity of life for children with childhood cancers. St. Jude and several other major academic centers have played important roles in that progress by developing new and innovative therapies to treat pediatric cancer.

New, innovative clinical trials from St. Jude

The Brain Tumor Program at St. Jude prides itself in developing new and innovative therapies for our patients. This is possible because our doctors work with scientists in our labs to rapidly introduce promising therapies to the clinical setting.

Before treating a patient with any new approach, we conduct extensive tests in the laboratory to find out if the therapy is effective and how the drug can best be used for our patients. This type of direct translation from the laboratory to the clinical setting is one of the major advantages of centers like St. Jude.

Access to national clinical trials

In addition to the clinical trials that we develop at St. Jude, we also use protocols developed by the Children's Oncology Group (COG) and the Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium (PBTC). Many of our faculty members play key roles in developing these protocols, which are large trials that take place at centers all over the United States.

Developmental Therapeutics Team

For patients with tumors that return or are hard to treat, we also have a very active Developmental Therapeutics Team. Its goals are to:

  • Improve understanding of how and in what doses certain drugs kill cancer cells by targeting key molecules involved in cancer cell growth.
  • Integrate these molecular-targeted therapies into conventional chemotherapeutic and radiation-based therapy.
  • Identify the pathways that encourage cancer cell growth so they can be targeted for new anti-cancer therapies.