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St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
January 1, 2014
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St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other deadly diseases. Everything we do is centered on finding cures and saving children. We’re the place where doctors send their toughest cases, because St. Jude has the world’s best survival rates for the most aggressive forms of childhood cancers. St. Jude invents more clinical trials for cancer than any other children’s hospital, and we turn laboratory breakthroughs into lifesaving treatments that benefit patients – every day. St. Jude freely shares the breakthroughs we make, and every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists can use that knowledge to save thousands more children around the world. Unlike any other hospital, the majority of funding for St. Jude comes from public contributions.
and food, because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.
Meet Campbell, 7 years old
Campbell lives in New Jersey with her family and she is also a part of our Brooks Brothers family. After a 10-day period of running a low-grade fever, 3-year-old Campbell began to have disturbing symptoms. She was lethargic, her speech became slurred, her right eye turned in toward her nose, and she started to walk into doorframes, completely missing the doorway. Campbell’s parents made several visits to their local pediatrician, and multiple tests later, the doctor determined the cause of these horrifying symptoms. The little girl was suffering from anaplastic ependymoma–a cancerous brain tumor. She was immediately admitted to the local hospital for several weeks, where she had surgery to remove the entire brain tumor followed by 30 days of proton beam radiation therapy. The surgery and radiation were a success, and Campbell lived cancer-free for 21 months. But the family’s worst fear became a reality when the cancer came back. Since then, the family has been chasing a cure, looking into the best treatment options possible for Campbell. In 2012, the family came to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® to start a new clinical trial for this deadly disease. “We were in uncharted territory,” says Campbell’s mother. “There is no known cure for recurrent anaplastic ependymoma.” The hospital created a plan that included brain surgery, radiation and a drug called 5-Fluorouracil. Campbell’s mom says, “St. Jude is a blessing. It’s happy. Bright. Cheerful. Great things are happening there!” And families like Campbell’s never have to pay St. Jude for anything—treatment, housing, food or transportation.
for pioneering research and care
Dr. William E. Evans
Director and CEO, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Dr. William E. Evans has served as St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital’s fifth director and CEO since 2004. From 1986 to 2002, he chaired the St. Jude Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, and from 2002 to 2004 served as the hospital’s scientific director and executive vice president. He also currently holds the St. Jude Professorship and Endowed chair at the University of Tennessee Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy.
For the past 36 years, his research at St. Jude has focused on the pharmacogenomics of anticancer agents in children, for which he has received three consecutive NIH MERIT Awards from the National Cancer Institute (1987-2015). The major disease focus of his pharmacogenomics research is acute lymphoblastic leukemia in children.
Q. What makes St. Jude unique?
A. St. Jude is not just a hospital, we are a “research hospital” and our mission is to make discoveries and use that to develop innovative new treatments for children with cancer and sickle cell disease. We then share our discoveries and treatment innovations with doctors and scientists around the world, so that they can be deployed to help children everywhere.
Q. What is St. Jude's top priority in the next 5-10 years?
A. Our goal is to improve cure rates for all childhood cancers to above 90%. We are already there with the most common type of leukemia and lymphomas, but cancer remains the leading cause of death by disease in US children over 1 year of age. Our focus is on improving cure rates so that is no longer the case.
Q. What projects are you most excited about?
A. I am very excited about our genomic medicine program which is using genetics to customize treatment for each child. This program is building on our pharmacogenomics research and our pediatric cancer genome project. We have already incorporated this into our electronic medical record so that it guides doctors and pharmacists as they decide what medications are needed for each patient. This is the future of healthcare and it is already routinely deployed at St. Jude. I am also very excited about our drug discovery programs for childhood cancer, our gene therapy program for certain inherited diseases like hemophilia, and our St. Jude Life program which is assessing healthcare of adults who were cured of a childhood cancer decades ago.
Q. What is your most memorable holiday gift?
A. One of our patients gave me a ceramic garden gnome that he had deliberately cracked and then taped back together. On it he wrote, “thanks for cracking the genome.” I am always amazed at how aware our patients are of the science that is going on around them.