St. Jude Comprehensive Cancer Center receives Merit Extension Award from NCI

The St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Comprehensive Cancer Center has received a prestigious Merit Extension Award from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), extending the center’s current $35 million, five-year Cancer Center Support Grant (CCSG) for an additional two years.

St. Jude became eligible for the award after receiving two consecutive “exceptional” ratings during the NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center grant review. Exceptional is the highest possible cancer center rating. The grant extension is designed to promote long-range planning and high-risk, high-reward research among its member cancer centers.

“This merit extension will allow St. Jude to pursue longer-term planning and initiatives. The hospital’s impact on cancer research and patients; education and training of young scientists; and on the children in its catchment area stand out as vital areas of progress,” said Henry Ciolino, PhD, director of the Office of Cancer Centers at the NCI.

Charles W.M. Roberts, MD, PhD, Comprehensive Cancer Center director, said “This merit extension recognizes the incredible impact the St. Jude Comprehensive Cancer Center is having in the fight against childhood cancer. Over the next several years, we will further intensify our efforts to grow collaborative research both within St. Jude and with scientists at other centers, improve cure rates for children with cancer, diminish toxic side effects of treatments, and enhance the quality of life for childhood cancer survivors.”

The St. Jude Comprehensive Cancer Center is one of 53 NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centers across the country and among a handful to earn an exceptional rating. The institution is the first and only NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children.

An NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center must possess a deep and broad research-based portfolio that extends from the laboratory to the clinic and must include population-based science. Centers must also be actively engaged in professional and public cancer education and outreach.

The St. Jude Comprehensive Cancer Center is organized as five cross-disciplinary, multi-departmental programs aligned to specific diseases and research concepts: Developmental Biology and Solid Tumor, Neurobiology and Brain Tumor, Hematological Malignancies, Cancer Control and Survivorship, and Cancer Biology. The center also supports 10 state-of-the-art core resource laboratories to facilitate research design, implementation, analysis, interpretation and reporting.

The St. Jude Comprehensive Cancer Center leads a number of initiatives of the FY22-27 St. Jude Strategic Plan including:

  • Recruiting 13 faculty members whose laboratory research focuses on advancing insights into understanding cancer
  • Expanding the St. Jude Research Collaboratives programs that bring together top scientists from across the country to tackle previously unanswerable questions about pediatric diseases
  • Enriching the talent pipeline by developing educational efforts targeted at potential future St. Jude employees.


St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and cures childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. It is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. Treatments developed at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20% to 80% since the hospital opened more than 60 years ago. St. Jude freely shares the breakthroughs it makes, and every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children. To learn more, visit or follow St. Jude on social media at @stjuderesearch.