MEMPHIS, Tenn. — St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital announced Wednesday it is committing nearly $13 billion and plans for hundreds of new employees as part of its expansion of its Memphis campus.
St. Jude said after a promising first year for its 2022-2027 strategic plan, it would increase its investment for programs targeting pediatric cancer and other diseases.
Officials said an addition $1.4 billion is being added to the six-year operating and capital budget, which brings the total to $12.9 billion. They are also increasing the number of new jobs planned with the expansion from 1,400 to 2,300. They said money for construction, renovation, and capital needs would increase from $1.9 billion to $2,3 billion.
The multi-year plans are St. Jude’s largest strategic expansion project in 60 years.
“Even before last year’s strategic plan launch, we began to explore the possibility of further expanding the budget and staffing numbers,” said James R. Downing, M.D., St. Jude president and CEO, in a news release. “Working with internal and external subject-matter experts, we developed a proposal for opportunities where a larger investment would help accelerate research and treatment for childhood catastrophic diseases. With these increases, we are better positioned to build on the outlined plan, as well as capitalize on emerging technologies and discoveries.”
Below is more information from St. Jude about the investments:
Investment in fundamental science
The 2022–27 plan charted initiatives across the fields of structural biology, advanced microscopy and data sciences. These efforts are directed at better defining normal biology and disease states. With this data, researchers will gain valuable insights into why diseases arise, spread or resist treatment. More than $250 million in capital, personal and operating expenses will be allocated to the areas, doubling the current funding.
Another $15 million has been dedicated to a large-scale program to explore the structure of protein kinases, bringing total six-year funding for the initiative to $50 million. From this effort, researchers hope to better understand the role of protein kinases, key regulators of cell function, in pediatric cancers and drug resistance. From this work, scientists will glean insights that could be useful in developing new precision therapies.
Investment in global childhood cancer care
In low- and middle-income countries, pediatric cancer survival rates languish below 20%. In the U.S., however, 80% of U.S. children with the same diseases are cured. A new investment will help researchers improve these statistics. Funding for the global initiatives will grow to $100 million annually by 2024, further supporting St. Jude–established networks around the world. By training doctors, nurses, researchers and other professionals; developing and strengthening health care systems; and advancing knowledge to sustain improvements in how medicine is practiced internationally, the institution seeks to cure 60% of children with six of the most common childhood cancers worldwide during the next decade. This growth is in addition to the $200 million St. Jude committed last year to create a global platform to ensure that children in low- and middle-income countries have access to quality cancer medications.
Investment in collaboration
The strategic plan outlines funds for collaborative projects among St. Jude and scientists across the U.S. and around the world. To date, St. Jude has supported five teams of researchers who are addressing questions in fundamental biology, pediatric cancer, sickle cell disease and survivorship. Funding will increase to $160 million during the next five years—an increase of nearly $60 million from the original budget. By 2027, St. Jude leadership plans to support a total of 11 collaborations focused on tackling unanswered needs in science and medicine.
Investment in the St. Jude campus
As St. Jude increases staff and accepts more children for treatment, creating a top workplace and a welcoming home-away-from-home for patients and their families is a major priority. The increased funds will be used to enhance construction projects, including the Domino’s Village, a 140-unit housing facility for patients and their families, and the Family Commons, a treatment-free zone for patients and their families within the hospital. The expansion will also be used for construction of two, 15-story towers dedicated to patient care and clinical research—a project that will cost more than $1 billion. The institution has filed permits with the Memphis and Shelby County Division of Planning and Development to begin the construction process of the two towers.
Unlike other hospitals, the majority of funding for St. Jude comes from generous donors. In the years ahead, it’s estimated that 89% of the funds necessary to sustain and grow St. Jude must be raised each year from donations.
“The largest financial investment in the 60-year history of St. Jude is thanks to the 12 million donors who support its lifesaving mission,” said Richard C. Shadyac Jr., president and CEO of ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude. “Their incredible generosity is fueling research and care that will impact more children worldwide for generations to come.”
The expansion follows a year of milestones across five focus areas—fundamental science, pediatric cancer care, childhood catastrophic diseases, global outreach, and workplace and culture.
Greater Memphis Chamber Chief Economic Development Officer Ted Townsend sent this statement on the announcement:
“St. Jude just reminded the world that Memphis serves as a catalyst when it comes to being a global force for good,” said Ted Townsend, chief economic development officer of the Greater Memphis Chamber. “This expansion – St. Jude’s largest ever – will accelerate the growth of our region, creating hundreds of jobs in Memphis and pumping billions of dollars into the region’s economy. Over the past few decades, the Chamber has played a pivotal role in ensuring St. Jude grows in Memphis and today’s announcement is just another brick in the ‘house’ that St. Jude has built. As Memphis moves the world, so does St. Jude and we couldn’t be prouder to have them as part of this movement.”