St. Jude tour impresses National Cancer Institute

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The director of the National Cancer Institute visited St. Jude Children's Research Hospital on Friday.

"St. Jude is already really a gem or a jewel in the crown of pediatric cancer research," Dr. Douglas R. Lowy said.

Lowy was in Memphis as part of a tour of St. Jude. Lowy is the director of the National Institutes of Health's National Cancer Institute.

St. Jude receives $6 million yearly in research funds from the institute. Those funds help the hospital examine the best courses of treatment for childhood cancer.

"The outlook for children who develop cancer has improved dramatically over the past decades," Lowy said.

Lowy said that outlook will continue to improve because of St. Jude's recently announced expansion in Memphis.

The multi-billion dollar effort includes plans for St. Jude to push into the Pinch District, adding an estimated 1,800 jobs and increasing patient count.

"Increasing the resources and capabilities of a center such as St. Jude really is going to have enormous dividends," Lowy said.

Hospital President and CEO James Downing said more targeted trials will expand in years to come too. He said St. Jude partners with other cancer centers all around the world to work to cure the rarest cancers known to man.

"If we can coordinate a group across the globe, we can answer that quicker, because in any single center or in any single country there just are not enough patients," Downing said. "Concentrating more efforts and resources here will really have a ripple effect."

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