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Fighting infantile leukemia

“Tumors are one of the prime causes of death amongst Chinese children. Every year around 45,000 new cases are diagnosed. At least half of these patients can be treated with a relatively simple protocol. Our Project shows it is possible to reach these kids and treat them.” Professor Ching-Hon Pui, vice-director, Hematology and Oncology Division, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital In China, only 10% of the 10,000 children in whom leukemia is diagnosed receive the necessary care. The other 90% are forced to abandon treatment because their families cannot afford it. In 2006, Fondazione Zegna launched a major new project in China in collaboration with the American St Jude Children’s Research Hospital to make a practical contribution to the struggle against infantile leukemia. The Project aims to develop a therapeutic protocol applicable throughout mainland China for certain pediatric tumors. This Protocol is being used for children suffering from leukemia coming from poor families. The hospitals twinned with the Project (Beijing’s Pediatric Hospital and Shanghai’s Children’s Medical Center) will benefit from transfer of knowledge from the prestigious US hospital, as well as becoming equipped with more effective technical instrumentation and assistance services. The first patient, a girl, started treatment under the Protocol in March 2005. Today, 66 children (aged between 14 months and 15 years and from 16 provinces in China) are involved in the Project. The children are chosen on the basis of the seriousness of their conditions and the incapacity of their families to pay for treatment. In 2008 and 2009, the treatments scheduled under the Protocol were followed up with numerous initiatives in support of patients and their families. New programs were launched at the Shanghai Children’s Medical Center focusing on five basic areas: development of facilities and accommodation for patients and their relatives, research into treatment to ease pain for terminal patients, study and monitoring of infections, management of the relative data, and reorganization of monthly courses and seminars for oncology nurses (to improve their knowledge of cancer monitoring, management of emergencies and specialist treatments). In pediatric oncology, new systems were introduced for managing case history monitoring data and correctly assessing not just results but also complications and obstacles that can slow down the development of an optimal treatment protocol. Such systems and programs are indispensable when identifying the areas most in need of specific action. To alleviate various difficulties and help children from poor families complete long chemotherapy programs, various facilities for patients and their families, including a canteen service, were organized on the hospital campus at the Shanghai Children’s Medical Center and the Beijing Children’s Hospital.


St Jude Children's Research Hospital

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, located in Memphis, Tennessee, is one of the world’s premier centers for the research and treatment of catastrophic childhood diseases primarily pediatric cancer. St. Jude is the only pediatric research center where uninsured families never need to pay for, or are ever asked to pay for, treatment.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, opened in 1962, has over the years treated children from all the US States and more than 70 countries. Fondazione Zegna and St. Jude’s operates together in China.

Fondazione Zegna and St. Jude’s operates together in China.