by John R. Fischer
, Senior Reporter | April 30, 2021
An $11.5 billion investment by St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital over the next six years is expected to accelerate research and treatment of children with catastrophic diseases worldwide.
The Six-Year St. Jude Strategic Plan focuses on fundamental science, childhood cancer, pediatric catastrophic diseases besides cancer, global impact, and workforce and workplace culture.
"We're committing substantial resources to broaden scientific understanding, raise survival rates, improve quality of life, and connect researchers worldwide in the quest to find cures and save children with cancer and other deadly diseases,” St. Jude president and CEO Dr. James Downing said in a statement.
The hospital will invest more than $250 million in technology and resources to study how pediatric catastrophic diseases occur, spread, and resist treatment. This includes creating a Cryo-Electron Tomography Center; a Center of Excellence in Advanced Microscopy; and expanding staff and digital infrastructure to apply data science to biological discovery.
Another $3.7 billion will fund research on high-risk cancer survival, relapsed diseases, and improving quality of life for pediatric cancer survivors through accelerated preclinical and clinical testing of new therapeutic agents; large-scale, collaborative U.S. and worldwide trials; and a translational immunology and immunotherapy initiative for pediatric solid tumors and brain tumors.
St. Jude will also put forth $1.1 billion toward research for other catastrophic diseases, including sickle cell disease; a lab program for global infectious pediatric diseases; and a clinical program for pediatric neurological diseases. In addition, $470 million will go toward educational programs to train medical staff to treat child cancer patients in limited-resource countries and to support healthcare systems there.
To help, St. Jude plans to hire nearly 70 new faculty members and supporting laboratory staff. Altogether the plan creates 1,400 jobs; includes $1.9 billion in construction, renovation, and capital needs; and opens up new research areas. It also will fund five to 11 teams of scientists worldwide, and create opportunities for high school and college students to learn about and pursue careers as biomedical research employees.