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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
Aidan - 4 years old
Aidan - 4 years old

4 years old

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Aidan was found to suffer from pilocytic astrocytoma in December 2010.

Aidan's story:

Aidan is a blur of motion. One moment he’s standing at the giant chalkboard in his playroom, drawing circles and squares with chalk.

The next minute he’s crouched down in front of his train table, lining up train cars. And then he’s out the backdoor with his older brother, racing toward the swing set.

Aidan’s parents delight in their youngest son’s zest for life. For a while, they worried about what his future might hold.

In early 2010, Aidan seemed to stop developing as quickly as his siblings. His parents had difficulty understanding him and his balance was off. That June, Aidan was found to suffer from neurofibromatosis, a disorder that causes tumors to grow on the nerves.

Aidan’s parents barely had time to process that news when, six months later, scans revealed a tumor growing in Aidan’s right optic nerve. He was immediately sent to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, where further tests revealed a second tumor in Aidan’s left optic nerve. The tumors were identified as pilocytic astrocytomas.

At St. Jude, Aidan underwent chemotherapy for 18 months. Because of the location of the tumors, they are inoperable. Doctors know they will begin to grow eventually, and when they do, Aidan will again undergo chemotherapy. “His cancer will never go into remission,” said Aidan’s mother. “He’ll have chemotherapy on and off for the rest of his life.”

Despite this daunting outlook, Aidan’s family has bright hopes for his future. “He’s a happy child, he’s in school and doing well,” said Aidan’s mom. “With everything he’s been through, he’s taught us to just be happy every day.”

Aidan’s parents are grateful for the people who help support St. Jude. “We never have to worry about a bill. When you have a child who is going to have a lifetime of treatment, this means so much,” Aidan’s mom said.

Aidan returns to St. Jude for regular checkups. He loves to see his doctors and nurses, and he especially loves playing with the trains in the playrooms.


January 2013

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Memphis, Tennessee, November 29, 2010

The Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has been recognized for the second consecutive year with the Beacon Award for Critical Care Excellence given by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN). In 2009, the St. Jude ICU became Tennessee’s first ICU to win the honor.

The St. Jude ICU is unique because 100 percent of its patients face long-term complications of cancer or other catastrophic diseases before admittance for management of acute, life-threatening illnesses. The staff of nearly 70 includes physicians, staff nurses, nurse leaders, patient care associates and respiratory therapists who provide lifesaving care to more than 300 patients admitted each year to the eight-bed unit.

“I am very excited with the news that we have been awarded our second Beacon Award for Critical Care Excellence,” said Nan Henderson, Intensive Care Unit manager at St. Jude. “This is an award that focuses on nursing care excellence, and it is a great honor and tribute to the critical care team and to the care that we provide to our patients. The reviewers recognized what I have known for years—our unit is one of the best because of our nurses and staff.”

With their immune systems weakened from treatment, St. Jude patients are at high risk for developing life-threatening infections that require a higher level of care. In the ICU, the critical care team administers antibiotic and fluid therapy and provides 24-hour monitoring to prevent the spread and severity of infections. Staff members work together on a daily basis and are specially trained with specific competencies in critical-care nursing.

“To be recognized twice by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses with this award is an honor for us and a direct nod to the devoted staff we have in the ICU,” said Ray Morrison, M.D., ICU medical director at St. Jude who oversees the Division of Critical Care.

To provide the best possible care, St. Jude offers a staffing model unmatched in most ICUs: a 1-to-1 nurse-to-patient ratio; 2 to 1 when treating the most severe cases. Less than 3 percent of the estimated 6,000 ICUs nationally have received the Beacon Award.

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is internationally recognized for its pioneering research and treatment of children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases. Ranked the No. 1 pediatric cancer hospital by Parents magazine and the No. 1 children’s cancer hospital by U.S. News & World Report, St. Jude is the first and only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. St. Jude has treated children from all 50 states and from around the world, serving as a trusted resource for physicians and researchers. St. Jude has developed research protocols that helped push overall survival rates for childhood cancer from less than 20 percent when the hospital opened to almost 80 percent today. St. Jude is the national coordinating center for the Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium and the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study. In addition to pediatric cancer research, St. Jude is also a leader in sickle cell disease research and is a globally prominent research center for influenza.

Founded in 1962 by the late entertainer Danny Thomas, St. Jude freely shares its discoveries with scientific and medical communities around the world, publishing more research articles than any other pediatric cancer research center in the United States. St. Jude treats more than 5,700 patients each year and is the only pediatric cancer research center where families never pay for treatment not covered by insurance. St. Jude is financially supported by thousands of individual donors, organizations and corporations without which the hospital’s work would not be possible. In 2010, St. Jude was ranked the most trusted charity in the nation in a public survey conducted by Harris Interactive, a highly respected international polling and research firm.

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St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® recently received two prestigious recognitions that underscore the hospital’s unique role in the charitable and health care landscape.

In June, St. Jude was ranked the nation’s top children’s cancer hospital, according to the 2010-11 Best Children’s Hospitals rankings published by U.S. News & World Report. St. Jude received the best overall score summarizing quality of care. And in March, St. Jude was ranked the most trusted charity in the nation by the international research firm Harris Interactive.

U.S. News & World Report, noted for its extensive and comprehensive ranking systems in education and health care, has published the annual America’s Best Hospitals since 1990. Since 2007, pediatric hospital rankings have been published separately under America’s Best Children’s Hospitals. The hospitals are judged on three areas: reputation; medical outcomes such as cancer survival; and quality of care.

“This recognition is an outstanding external acknowledgment for our institution, but more importantly for the dedicated St. Jude faculty and staff who devote their time, talent and lives to the young patients we see every day,” said Dr. William E. Evans, St. Jude director and CEO.

The 2010 Harris Poll EquiTrend®, which was released March 4, also reported that St. Jude ranked second among the nation’s top charities in overall brand equity.

“We are honored that the American public thinks so highly of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital,” said Richard C. Shadyac Jr., CEO of ALSAC, the fundraising organization of St. Jude. “We know that this trust is the reason so many families turn to St. Jude for our lifesaving care, and also why millions of Americans support St. Jude as we seek to save children’s lives.”

The 2010 EquiTrend® study conducted by Harris measured 1,151 brands, including nonprofits, and measured brand equity, customer connection, commitment, energy, brand behavior, brand advocacy and trust.

St. Jude is the first and only pediatric cancer center to be designated as a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute. And St. Jude is the only pediatric cancer research center where families never pay for treatment not covered by insurance. No child is ever denied treatment because of the family’s inability to pay.

Since opening in 1962, the research conducted at St. Jude has helped push the survival rates for childhood cancers from 20 percent to 80 percent today. St. Jude has achieved a survival rate of 94 percent for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) the most common form of childhood cancer. Today, St. Jude continues to conduct the breakthrough research that is changing the way some of the deadliest childhood diseases are treated.

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Powerful but rare immune cells taken from a parent might provide a safe, effective and affordable approach to preventing cancer’s return in young patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), according to new St. Jude research. The finding is important because relapse is a key reason AML cure rates remain about 70 percent. AML, a cancer of certain white blood cells, is diagnosed in about 500 children and teenagers annually in the U.S. This work builds on earlier St. Jude research into natural killer or NK cells, including how to match NK cell donors and recipients to ensure patients receive the most potent cancer-killing donor cells. NK cells are the body’s first line of defense against cancer and infections, but they account for less than 10 percent of the diseasefighting immune cells. Ten young AML patients who had completed standard therapy and who were in remission participated in the pilot study, which was designed to test the therapy’s safety. The work appeared in the January 19 online edition of the Journal of Clinical Oncology. To read more about this study, please visit:

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Organization Information

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

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

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