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Revealing the causes of cancer

At St. Jude, we're studying the genomes of many of the most common pediatric cancers, and our research will provide a blueprint for the future of childhood cancer research. Endeavors such as the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital – Washington University Pediatric Cancer Genome Project (PCGP) have helped forge the way into the future. 

When St. Jude opened its doors in 1962, acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), the most common childhood cancer, was a virtual death sentence. In the past 50 years, St. Jude researchers have helped push the survival rate of ALL from 4 percent to 94 percent today.

However, the outlook remains bleak for children with certain subtypes of ALL, including an aggressive form known as ETP-ALL. Most children with ETP-ALL do not respond well to current treatments; only 30 to 40 percent of patients become long-term survivors. Efforts to improve treatment have been limited by a lack of information about the genetic mistakes driving this cancer.

But our genome project has provided St. Jude scientists with valuable insights into the biology of ETP-ALL and how to treat it successfully. Their findings give hope that survival rates for this deadly form of leukemia can be increased.

St. Jude is working to drive the overall survival rate for childhood cancer to 90 percent within the next decade. We won’t stop until no child dies from cancer. Please help us get there.

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