Agreement to benefit children with cancer and catastrophic diseases
John G. Davies, Esq., Chair, Board of Trustees, Rady Children's Hospital-San Diego and former Regent of the University of California announced today an important new alliance between Rady Children's Hospital-San Diego, the University of California, San Diego and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Leaders of the three institutions said the collaboration will expand critical research in childhood cancers and other pediatric diseases, and provide access in San Diego to clinical trials sponsored by Memphis-based St. Jude.
Some of the advanced clinical trials conducted by St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, an institution known worldwide for cancer research, will now be implemented at Rady Children's Hospital, allowing more children to benefit from the latest advances in medicine.
At UC San Diego, leading biomedical researchers will collaborate with colleagues at St. Jude to better understand the causes and improve the treatment of catastrophic childhood diseases, including cancer, and work toward the ultimate goal of improving cure rates.
"The alliance is designed to encourage and facilitate collaborative research that is of great interest to St. Jude, while allowing patients in the San Diego area to continue to receive medical care close to their homes," said William E. Evans, PharmD, St. Jude hospital director and CEO. "This alliance will allow St. Jude to continue its mission of advancing cures and means of prevention for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment."
"This exciting collaboration will bring promising experimental therapies for children to San Diego, and bring together the talents of the UCSD research community with those of St. Jude, one of the most impressive pediatric research centers in the country," said David Brenner, M.D., Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences at UC San Diego. "UC San Diego is widely recognized as a premier research institution where discovery leads to innovations in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease. Our alliance with St. Jude and Rady Children's Hospital will focus these efforts on improving treatments and finding cures for pediatric cancer."
"All of us want to make sure that the best possible care is available to children in San Diego," said Kathleen Sellick, President and CEO of Rady Children's Hospital. "This new relationship with St. Jude and UC San Diego is another opportunity to further that vision. It enables UC San Diego, St. Jude, Rady Children's and Children's Specialists of San Diego to combine the strengths of each organization right here in San Diego. Most importantly, when a family learns that their child has cancer, they will know that what they need is right here at home."
Initially, the clinical trials available to children in southern California will be studies of new cancer treatments; in the future, they will have access to clinical trials for other catastrophic diseases. In addition, St. Jude and UC San Diego investigators will collaborate on basic and translational research projects, including future efforts in nanotechnology.
Evans added, "We will take advantage of the intellectual capital of basic, translational and clinical researchers at all three institutions to advance medical knowledge of fundamental biological principles and systems underlying childhood cancers in order to increase the cure rates for children with catastrophic diseases around the world."
The UC San Diego Department of Pediatrics, which formally affiliated with Rady Children's in 2001, will serve as the liaison for the basic research collaboration. In addition, faculty from the three institutions will work together on the translation of successful laboratory research to the development of innovative new clinical therapies. With the treatment and research focus on pediatric cancer, other key partners include Children's Specialists of San Diego and the Moores UCSD Cancer Center, the region's only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center.
"Children throughout the region will benefit from this important new collaboration," said Gabriel Haddad, M.D., Chair of the UC San Diego Department of Pediatrics and Physician-in-Chief at Rady Children's Hospital. "The partnership between Rady Children's Hospital and UC San Diego's Pediatrics Department was established with the belief that our children deserve world-class care, and that by integrating our clinical, educational and research missions, we would achieve this goal and accelerate the pace of research to defeat pediatric disease. This new alliance will help us further realize this vision."
"Survival rates for childhood cancer have improved significantly over the past 50 years, largely due to coordinated efforts in clinical research," said William Roberts, M.D., Director of the Hematology/Oncology Care Center at Rady Children's Hospital and the UC San Diego Department of Pediatrics. "This new alliance will allow us not only to continue to contribute to the progress in clinical research for childhood cancer, but to significantly improve it through the development and implementation of innovative clinical trials, translational research, and basic science research. I expect that children with cancer will realize the benefits of this alliance in the near future."
Haddad said that UC San Diego researchers from throughout the campus will be invited to participate in joint projects. He envisions that projects will include genetic and genomic studies of pediatric cancer, and studies of the effects of new pharmaceutical compounds to speed the development of safe and effective new drugs for cancer.
A unique advantage of this alliance is that it is not a merger but a collaboration, so each institution can benefit from the areas of strength of the others to expand the scope of pediatric cancer research and the search for cures. Donations will also remain separate; all gifts will remain at the institution to which they are designated.
About Rady Children's Hospital-San Diego
Since Rady Children's Hospital-San Diego first opened its doors in 1954, its mission has been "to restore, sustain and enhance the health and developmental potential of children through excellence in care, education, research and advocacy." Rady Children's is a 248-bed pediatric tertiary care facility providing the largest source of comprehensive pediatric medical services in San Diego and Imperial Counties. As the sole hospital in the San Diego area dedicated exclusively to pediatric healthcare, Rady Children's is the region's only designated pediatric trauma center. Rady Children's has a 54-bed Pediatric Critical Care unit and a 38-bed Neonatal Intensive care unit, along with the only comprehensive pediatric Cancer Care Center in San Diego, which includes both inpatient and outpatient care. There are a multitude of pediatric medical and behavioral health specialty services, include rehabilitation, orthopedic services, transplant services, respiratory care, psychiatry, trauma counseling and a full range of surgical services. Rady Children's Convalescent Hospital is a 59-bed facility that cares for medically fragile children as well as children with sub-acute medical needs. For more information please visit www.rchsd.org.
About the University of California, San Diego Health Sciences
UC San Diego Health Sciences encompasses the School of Medicine, Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and UCSD Medical Center, the region's only academic medical center. Part of the internationally renowned University of California system, UC San Diego is one of the most respected educational and research institutions in the world. Health Sciences unites the brightest medical and scientific minds in research collaborations leading to breakthroughs that become the standard for patient care. UC San Diego's biomedical research, patient care and academic programs are routinely ranked among the nation's best. Year after year, the U.S. News & World Report national rankings have recognized UCSD Medical Center for its clinical and research excellence in a wide range of specialties, including cancer care provided through the Moores UCSD Cancer Center, an NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center. The magazine also ranks the UCSD School of Medicine as 5th in the nation among public research medical schools. The Department of Pediatrics faculty are currently supported by over $25 million in research funding for groundbreaking studies in a range of pediatric diseases.
About St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is internationally recognized for its pioneering work in finding cures and saving children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases. Founded by late entertainer Danny Thomas and based in Memphis, Tenn., St. Jude freely shares its discoveries with scientific and medical communities around the world. No family ever pays for treatments not covered by insurance, and families without insurance are never asked to pay. St. Jude is financially supported by ALSAC, its fundraising organization. For more information, please visit www.stjude.org.
Leslie Franz, Executive Director
Health Sciences Communications and Public Affairs
University of California, San Diego
Ben Metcalf, Public Information Officer
Rady Children's Hospital – San Diego
Carrie Strehlau and Summer Freeman, Media Relations
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital/ALSAC