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A Story of Hope

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital owes its existence to a promise made by a struggling entertainer- Danny Thomas. Turning to St. Jude Thaddeus, the patron saint of hopeless causes, Thomas vowed: "Show me my way in life, and I will build you a shrine."

That simple promise and his later success as a television star led Thomas to found St. Jude, which opened in 1962. St Jude continues to be the only National Cancer Institute-funded cancer center devoted solely to children. Working together, our physicians and scientists have pioneered treatments that have helped push the overall survival rates for childhood cancer from less than 20 percent in 1962 to more than 70 percent today. The survival rate for the most common form of childhood cancer, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, has risen from 4 percent in 1962 to 94 percent today.

On average, 4,900 children are in active status at St. Jude at any given time, each enrolled in one of the hospital's specially tailored treatment plans. Among the diseases treated at St. Jude are malignancies of the lymphatic system (Hodgkin disease), the blood-forming tissues (leukemias), the kidney (Wilms tumor), the bones (Ewing sarcoma and osteosarcoma), brain tumors, genetic diseases and pediatric HIV/AIDS.
Research Programs

St. Jude researchers strive for the molecular, genetic and chemical answers that will open new doors for the prevention and treatment of catastrophic diseases in children. Ongoing research programs seek to advance the effectiveness of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, bone marrow tranplantation, and cell and gene therapy. Basic science research focuses on deepening our understanding of the biochemistry of normal and cancerous cells, viruses, blood diseases and genetic diseases. St. Jude researchers include a Nobel laureate and several members of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences.

One growth area at St. Jude is the Children's Infection Defense Center. Scientists in this area work to eliminate catastrophic infectious killers of children by unlocking mysteries of human immunity and how viruses and bacteria cause disease. Millions of children die each year from pediatric AIDS, pneumonia, tuberculosis and cholera. St. Jude's researchers are targeting each of these diseases.

New and exciting treatment options are being developed in the Transplantation and Gene Therapy program. St. Jude was the first U.S. institution to receive government clearance to perform clinical studies involving a new kind of bone marrow transplant that allows parents who are not exact matches to be bone marrow donors for their children. Scientists at St. Jude are also at the forefront of gene therapy research that holds promise for children with many malignant and genetic disorders.

St. Jude is in a unique position to research and treat diseases that are often overlooked by drug companies and other treatment facilities. There is little profit in developing drugs for rare diseases. The Children's GMP, LLC, the nation's only pediatric research center on site facility for production of highly specialized medicines and vaccines is allowing the hospital to produce vaccines and other therapeutic agents for clinical trials, offering hope to more of the world's children.

The hospital's Hartwell Center for Bioinfomatics and Biotechnology is one of the leading facilities of its kind in the world. It gives St. Jude researchers the tools they need to study gene and protein function on a large scale.

St. Jude freely shares its research findings through postdoctoral training, residencies, teaching fellowships, international symposiums for physicians visits and lectures, published papers and publications.
Admissions & Treatment

For a child to be admitted to St. Jude:

  • The patient must be referred by a physician.
  • The patient's disease must currently be under study.
  • The child must be 18 years old or younger (rare exceptions do occur for certain protocols)
  • Generally, patients cannot have received prior extensive treatment.

St. Jude is non-sectarian. Children who meet medical requirements are treated without regard to a family’s ability to pay. Families never pay for treatments that are not covered by insurance, and families with out insurance are never asked to pay.

St. Jude treats most of its patients on an outpatient basis, reserving confinement to one of its 60-inpatient rooms only in critical cases.

The cost of lodging, meals and transportation for the patient and one parent is also covered. Patients in need to lodging stay at The Memphis Grizzlies House, Target House or Ronald McDonald House at not cost to the families.

St. Jude provides total treatment for the child, such as comprehensive eye care, dental care, rehabilitation and neuropsychological services. Families can also take advantage of services offered by social workers and chaplains. Child Life also provides special programs for patients and their siblings.

ALSAC Danny Thomas, Founder

Gifts to St. Jude are tax deductible. Inquires regarding
gifts or volunteer work for St. Jude may be made to:

ALSAC/St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
National Executive Office
501 St. Jude Place
Memphis, TN 38105
Equal Housing Opportunity Equal Housing Opportunity   Office: (816) 628-6058
Office Fax: (816) 628-2100