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St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

by St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
St. Jude Children
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital - research

Read how unique, large-scale research initiatives and clinical programs at St. Jude are driving landmark discoveries and bringing a new kind of precision care to our patients.

Cancer begins when changes in DNA trigger cells to grow out of control. Through the Pediatric Cancer Genome Project, St. Jude and Washington University in St. Louis have pinpointed the DNA changes behind some of the toughest childhood cancers. 

The project, initiated in 2010, has resulted in a wealth of new discoveries revealing the genetic Achilles heels of pediatric cancers. Named as one of TIME magazine's annual Top 10 Medical Breakthroughs, this project has sparked innovative clinical trials to test new treatments for children.

Genomes for Kids (G4K) is a St. Jude clinical research study designed to lay the groundwork for transforming childhood cancer therapy. Through this novel study, researchers are learning more about childhood tumors, how genome sequencing might help predict a tumor's response to treatment, and the best ways to share the test results with families.

Each child is unique, and every cancer is different. As findings from the Pediatric Cancer Genome Project continue to drive basic research on the genetics of cancer, St. Jude has launched an ambitious program to apply its powerful technologies where they are needed most: the bedsides of our patients.

The vision of the program is to use technology called genome sequencing to carefully scrutinize every one of the 3 billion letters of the genetic code of patients and their cancers. When analyzed with advanced computing technology, the results can be used to accurately identify a cancer and find its genetic vulnerabilities. These results can also show if the patient was born with an increased risk for cancer.

Bringing large-scale genome sequencing out of the research lab and into the clinic is a massive endeavor. Using the technology in patient care requires deep expertise, state-of-the-art facilities, and focused, mission-driven research, all major strengths of St. Jude.

This technology offers the promise of true precision medicine, in which treatment and long-term care can be tailored for each child.

Learn more here: https://www.stjude.org/research/initiatives/drug-discovery-therapeutics.html#precision-medicine

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Little Lexi and her big grin are cute as can be. She’s a star among those who know her, an outgoing girl who loves to dance and do arts and crafts.

In the summer of 2013, when Lexi started getting bruises that wouldn’t go away, her parents thought she was just too busy knocking around to heal. Instead, blood tests showed 3-year-old Lexi was dangerously ill with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a form of blood cancer.

The day after diagnosis, Lexi was referred to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. “When they gave us the option of other places to go, I said there’s no doubt about it, I want to be at St. Jude,” her mom explained. “We know St. Jude is the place that finds the medicines that work.” In fact, treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20% to more than 80% since it opened more than 50 years ago. 

And families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food — because all a family should worry about is helping their child live. Lexi received more than two years of chemotherapy, so that was a big load off her family’s mind. “We’re just so blessed to have St. Jude to take care of her, and to take care of us,” said her mom.

Now 6 years old, Lexi completed cancer treatment in April 2015 and returns to St. Jude regularly for checkups.

Help our families focus on their sick child, not medical bills.

When you donate monthly, your gift means families, like Lexi's, never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food — because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.

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St. Jude patient Drew is now finished with treatments. He's cancer-free and celebrated with a No Mo' Chemo party! Watch Drew's special milestone.

After spending half his life getting chemotherapy, 5-year-old St. Jude patient Drew is now finished with treatments. He's cancer-free and celebrated with a No Mo' Chemo party! Watch this special milestone with Drew and his family.

Drew was 2 years old when he was found to have acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), the most common form of childhood cancer.

Determined to get Drew the best care, his family turned to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. St. Jude has increased our survival rates for ALL from 4% before we opened in 1962 to 94% today — the world’s best. Drew arrived in June 2013 and began three years of chemotherapy.

Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food — because all a family should worry about is helping their child live. “Knowing that we would never receive a bill from St. Jude, Danny and I can talk about what to do for Drew versus how we’re going to pay for treatment,” Shawna said. “It changes your whole mindset.”

Recently, Drew, his family and St. Jude staff tearfully celebrated the successful completion of his treatment with a “No Mo Chemo” party at St. Jude. “This is what St. Jude does,” Shawna said. “They fix kids who have cancer.” 

 

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Jun J. Yang, PhD - St. Jude
Jun J. Yang, PhD - St. Jude

Gene variations offer clues to cancer risk 

Jun J. Yang, PhD

A small change in a single gene suggests why childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) has turned up in two generations of one family. Research led by St. Jude investigators identified the change and found other young ALL patients had variations in the same gene.

The ETV6 gene plays an important role in the blood system. St. Jude researchers discovered that one copy of the gene is altered in a family in which the mother and two of three children are survivors of childhood ALL.

All three childhood cancer survivors carry the alteration, which is predicted to cause the gene to malfunction. The daughter who is cancer free has the same alteration. The father does not have cancer and does not carry the alteration.

When researchers checked an additional 4,405 children with ALL they found almost 1 percent had changes in the same gene. Research is underway to understand the magnitude of the risk associated with ETV6 variations and develop recommendations for monitoring affected children and families. The family in this study has received counseling and follow-up care through the St. Jude Hereditary Cancer Predisposition Clinic.

“The results also suggest that inherited susceptibility to pediatric ALL may be more common than currently believed,” said Jun J. Yang, PhD, of St. Jude Pharmaceutical Sciences. A report on this study appeared in the journal Lancet Oncology.

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Zurich employee, Brett
Zurich employee, Brett

Brett can thank his mother and a dedicated doctor for the opportunity to grow up with one of his best friends—his sister, Mikayla.

Mikayla was born with an acute respiratory virus. Several doctors said nothing could be done for the baby. But her mother persisted and found the doctor who cured Mikayla.

“She is one of my best friends, and I can’t imagine growing up without her,” Brett says.

When he learned that his employer, Zurich North America, offered the opportunity to donate to charity through a workplace-giving program, he knew he wanted to support a charity for health care or children.

“St. Jude does both, and it was a perfect fit,” he says.

Zurich is one example of how companies across the U.S. support St. Jude through employee giving and matching company gifts.

A recent addition to the St. Jude employee giving program is stjudeatwork.org, a website that provides information and a virtual toolkit for companies who want to include St. Jude in their workplace giving programs. The site, which includes input from Zurich employees, offers engaging ideas for fundraising at work, including bake sales, a fun run at the office, an ugly sweater contest and an office trivia competition.

Zurich selects an executive champion and two employee champions to promote each of its core charities. Brett, 28, is an employee champion for St. Jude. In that role, he visited St. Jude where he was “blown away” by what he saw, although he had read about the hospital’s pioneering research and exceptional care.

“St. Jude goes to extreme efforts to ensure that the kids still have a childhood and that their families can remain close during that time. That was what left me so inspired,” he says. “That is what sets St. Jude apart from any other charity.”

St. Jude is the No. 1 charity supported through Zurich’s A Time For Giving campaign, says the program manager for community investment at Zurich. “The idea of helping provide sick children with innovative treatments that will give them the best chance to live a full, healthy life—in an environment where the family is supported—makes it a natural draw for many Zurich employees to support St. Jude."

Working together to help St. Jude children also builds employee relationships.

“One thing I didn’t expect when I started doing this was the feeling of connectedness with other colleagues,” Brett says. “It’s a nice benefit.”

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Organization Information

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

Location: Memphis, TN - USA
Website:
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
Elizabeth Ashford
Project Leader:
Elizabeth Ashford
Memphis, TN United States

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