A look inside St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Part II

The "other side" of defeating childhood cancer

By Anna Yee

March 27, 2013 Updated Mar 27, 2013 at 8:41 PM CDT

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- At the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, the mission is simple, "Find cures. Save Children."

Let's take a closer look inside and find out how that mission comes to life.

St. Jude is the first institution established for the sole purpose of treating and researching deadly childhood diseases like cancer.

Since St. Jude opened in 1962, the survival rate for leukemia, the most common form of childhood cancer, jumped from 4-percent to 94-percent today, thanks to protocols developed at St. Jude.

"To think that we have come that far in 50 years is just unbelievable, and I'm sure happy to be a part of that," said Dr. Beth Stewart, a St. Jude physician and researcher. "And, besides leukemia, we're doing work on other solid tumors, brain tumors."

Dr. Beth Stewart, like all researchers at St. Jude, is devoted to getting all cure rates to 100-percent.

"My interaction with my patients is actually what really fuels me to do my research," said Dr. Stewart. "So, it's so much easier for me to be able to tell these patients and their families, 'Hey, there is hope. We are working on these things.'"

But doing research has its challenges.

Running one small lab can cost up to about half a million dollars a year, and results don't always come quickly.

Just ask Dr. Mari Dallas, also a St. Jude physician and researcher.

"Clearly the research takes a long time," said Dr. Dallas. "I've realized that a big key is to provide the knowledge and the drive to younger generations to tell them to continue to really fight and make things better for kids."

Dr. Dallas is studying ways to improve a new type of blood transplant, adding to the list of children's medical advances happening inside the hospital.

St. Jude continues to make leaps and bounds. A new facility is being constructed which will house both research and treatment units, including cutting-edge radiation technology to help further the mission of St. Jude.

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Tickets are still available for Peoria's St. Jude Dream Home giveaway.

The four bedroom house is located at 3011 West Wessex Drive and is open for tours during the weekend.

You can purchase $100 raffle tickets at any Peoria or Tazewell county Kroger store, or online at www.StJude.org/DHPeoria (or click on the link above).

You can also call 1-800-390-3196.

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