St. Jude Takes Care of Patients for Life

By: Ashley Davidson
By: Ashley Davidson

St. Jude is more than just a hospital. It is known worldwide for the research it conducts to fight catastrophic diseases and the impacts medications can have in the long run.

Richard Smeyne is an associate member of the research staff. He says: "The research done here is top notch. And it's actually sort of hidden outside of what people know about the great cure rates for cancer and the results on the clinical end. Basic research done here is absolutely incredible, but hidden."

Smeyne is studying the effects of drugs like methylphenidate, commonly known as Ritalin, on brain development.

Smeyne says: "All the kids are generally given methylphenidate as part of their therapy."

That's because some of the patients given radiation for brain tumors and other types of cancer can experience an IQ loss 3-5 years later. And the methylphenidate has been shown to help kids focus and perform better at school when they finish their treatment.

Smeyne says: "What's interesting is this drug has been in use since the 50s. Seven percent of kids are taking it. And it's never been reported if there's anything it does to the brain, good or bad."

Smeyne says the support they receive from fundraisers like the Saint Jude Dream House help them advance in research that isn't being conducted anywhere else. And looking at the long term effects of the treatment patients receive can help determine if they will be at risk for other diseases when they get older.

Smeyne says: "We are very holistic here at St. Jude. It's not just cure your cancer and go home. It's cure your cancer and you're our patient for life and we're going to take care of you."

If you'd like to help St. Jude and have a chance to win a home worth $300,000 here's how. Tickets can be purchased at any Houchens or IGA store, Hancock Fabrics, on the web, or by calling 1-800-834-5461. The deadline is October 1st. Tickets are $100. The St. Jude Dream Home to will be open to the public starting on Saturday, August 19 at 9 a.m. It's located in Remington Place subdivision.


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