St. Jude Scientist Helping Find Cures

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Since opening in 1962, children from all states and more than seventy foreign countries have received treatment at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

With more than 3,200 employees the hospital stays busy with people working toward the same goal-"finding cures and saving children."

"St. Jude's mission is to advance cures and means of prevention for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment," scientist Jason Rawlings said.

Jason Rawlings knows a lot about St. Jude. The biochemist received his Ph.D. at the University of Kentucky and then decided where he wanted to be.

"I came to St. Jude for three reasons. First, to broaden my skills as a scientist, and I wanted to work on something more relevant to the human condition compared to what I was doing in grad school. Lastly, I wanted to make an impact," Rawlings said.

He's now doing just that at a hospital he says is on the cutting edge of research.

"If there's a new toy out there to play with, St. Jude's got it," Rawlings assured.

Rawlings studies T-cells in the body's immune system and said he's hoping one day his research will lead to a new cure for a pediatric illness.

Since 1962, when the hospital opened, it's already made a big difference.

"At that time if a child was diagnosed with the most common malignancy which is acute lymphoblastic leukemia, they had a four percent survival rate. It kind of sucks to get that diagnosis. I can't describe it any other way, but today, the survival rate is well over 90 percent," Rawlings said.

Rawlings said "Finding Cures and Saving Children" is more than the motto for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

It's something the doctors live by and remember every time a new patient walks through the hospital's doors.

"It's awesome and you see them with smiles on their faces and how happy they are to be here and it reminds me that's why I'm here," Rawlings stated.

Over the years St. Jude has made many advances in cures for pediatric diseases, such as pioneering a procedure allowing children to receive bone marrow transplants without being an identical match.

They also share their research with doctors worldwide so that every child can benefit from it.