The World Health Organization has designated St. Jude Children's Research Hospital its first WHO Collaborating Centre for Childhood Cancer. The designation represents a new push by both organizations to expand efforts that will advance pediatric cancer survival rates worldwide.
As a Collaborating Centre, St. Jude is partnering with WHO to develop strategies that strengthen the global resources, organization and planning needed to identify and treat pediatric cancer.
"St. Jude is committed to ensuring that all children with cancer have access to quality care regardless of where they live," said James R. Downing, M.D., St. Jude president and CEO. "With this partnership, we have a unique opportunity to accelerate progress against the disease and change how childhood cancers are treated everywhere in the world."
To this new collaboration, WHO brings its expertise in working with government, civil society and leaders across health systems regionally and globally. St. Jude offers experience working with multidisciplinary care providers essential to implementing and sustaining successful programs in countries around the world.
Since 1993, St. Jude has worked closely with medical institutions in low- and middle-income countries around the world to improve survival rates for children with cancer and other life-threatening diseases. The St. Jude program develops integrated models of education, capacity-building and research, resulting in steady improvements in the outcomes of children with cancer.
Cancer control is an important component of WHO's efforts to address noncommunicable diseases and promote universal health coverage around the world. The organization is setting norms and standards for cancer control, including the development of evidence-based and timely diagnosis, treatment and palliative care programs. WHO also promotes monitoring and evaluating programs and institutions through registries and research tailored to the local disease burden and available resources.
Over 700 WHO collaborating centres are spread throughout more than than 80 countries. As a Collaborating Centre for Childhood Cancer, St. Jude will:
- Support WHO in including childhood cancer in national cancer control plans through tools for prioritization, costs and framework for monitoring and evaluation;
- Support WHO in developing tools for health systems innovation diffusion and leadership engagement in childhood cancer management; and
- Help WHO strengthen childhood cancer control and management through technical support, as well as global and regional stakeholder engagement.
"Although cure rates for many childhood cancers are above 80 percent in some parts of the world, the global cure rate for these diseases in developing or poorer countries can be as low as 10 percent," said WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. "Together with St. Jude, we can close this staggering gap in curing childhood cancers, ensuring that all countries have the ability to effectively detect, diagnose and treat cancer in children and save the lives of many from cancer around the world."
In addition to this new designation, St. Jude is a WHO Collaborating Centre for Influenza and has worked with the organization to support pandemic preparedness efforts since 1975.