St. Jude Children's Hospital in Memphis is putting more focus on its work around the world. The research institution has announced a $100 million initiative to accelerate cancer treatment globally.
St. Jude is calling this its "next chapter." Currently, it's saving 80 percent of the kids who come in for cancer treatment. But most of the children with cancer don’t live in the U.S. — and their death rates are much higher.
St. Jude has been working in other countries for several decades — funding the salaries of doctors and nurses and buying equipment. Recently, the hospital has funded care for Syrian refugees in Jordan. In all, the research center works with 24 hospitals in 17 countries currently.
But this newly announced project is on an exponentially larger scale, says the head of global pediatric medicine, Carlos Rodrigues-Galindo.
"The goal will be, for example, we'll be able to reach out to 30 percent of all children with cancer. When now, we're only reaching out to around three percent of them," he says.
Rodrigues-Galindo says St. Jude has felt like it couldn't fulfill its mission without taking a worldwide approach.
This month, St. Jude was also named as the first "Collaborating Centre for Childhood Cancer" by the World Health Organization.
"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," WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement. "Together with St. Jude, we can close this staggering gap in curing childhood cancers."