St. Jude Global’s work treating young Syrian refugees to be featured during American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting
Press Release – MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE – Over the past year, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has announced it’s expanding its international reach with St.Jude Global, a more than $100 million investment toward accelerating efforts to improve childhood cancer survival rates worldwide. In addition, as part of this renewed effort to prioritize the global approach to childhood cancer, St. Jude and World Health Organization announced a five-year collaboration – a multi-faceted, coordinated effort to cure 60 percent of children with six of the most common types of cancer by 2030.
In the United States, pediatric cancer survival rates top 80 percent, and most children have access to quality care, regardless of where they live. Around the world, however, the statistics are bleak. More than 80 percent of children with cancer live in low- and middle-income countries, and the overwhelming majority will die from their diseases.
“During this year’s World Cancer Day, we continue to make great strides in achieving St. Jude founder Danny Thomas’ dream of a world where ‘no child should die in the dawn of life,’” said James R. Downing, M.D., St. Jude president and chief executive officer. “Global childhood cancer rates are on the rise as more children worldwide survive infancy. Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of those new cases are happening in places where they lack access to adequate diagnosis and treatment.”
Young Syrian refugees living in Lebanese camps is one place where St. Jude Global has already made a difference that will be featured during the upcoming American Association for the Advancement of Science’s (AAAS) Annual Meeting – the world’s largest gathering of multi-disciplinary sciences – on Sunday, Feb. 17 in Washington, D.C.
A collaboration between St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the Children’s Cancer Center of Lebanon at the American University of Beirut Medical Center has led to almost 600 non-Lebanese children receiving cancer-related evaluations, treatment, consultations and referrals. By sharing resources, best practices, insights and infrastructure, more refugees were treated who would have otherwise died because they happened to have cancer at a time when their family was displaced by war.
“During this year’s World Cancer Day, our work in Lebanon is a reminder that it is possible to save the lives of children who would have otherwise died simply because they happen to have cancer when their families were displaced,” said Sima Jeha, M.D., director of St. Jude Global’s East and Mediterranean Region. “Our experience in this region shows that effective pediatric cancer treatment is possible even in crisis situations.”
Jeha will lead a presentation, “Treating Pediatric Cancer in Crisis: Lessons for Delivering Care,” outlining lessons learned from this collaboration across borders and institutions and offering a blueprint to address the needs of children with cancer in low- and middle-income countries, even under the worst of circumstances. During the presentation, a panel of global medical experts will discuss lessons learned from the experience in Lebanon and how institutions and countries can work together to improve outcomes for non-communicable diseases in peace and in crisis.
Additional detail about St. Jude Global’s work to effectively treat young Syrian refugees can be found in St. Jude’s Promise Magazine, here.