Our World-Class Team Takes on the Most Challenging Childhood Cancers

U.S. News Ranks Our Program No. 1 in the Nation  

When Kelly Murphy was diagnosed in 2016 with a brain tumor, the 11-year-old boy battled his way along the journey like a superhero.

He faced multiple surgeries, chemotherapy and six weeks of an emerging form of radiation treatment known as proton therapy. “Considering I was one of the first to do this for Children’s, it felt pretty cool, like discovering new frontier like Lewis and Clark’s trip to the West,” Kelly says.

Now there’s no trace left of his nongerminomatous germ cell tumor, and Kelly is back to being a regular teenager, hanging with friends and playing video games.

“Thank you,” says Kelly’s mom, Lori Mathews. “You saved my kid’s life and you did it with the upmost professionalism … you restored my faith in humanity.”

The combination of world-class expertise, groundbreaking research, and cutting-edge technology that helped Kelly also has helped many other children. Our track record of success and ongoing improvement helps explain why our cancer program was ranked No. 1 in the 2018-19 list of Best Children’s Hospitals published by U.S. News & World Report.

Every day, more than 1,000 doctors, nurses, scientists, researchers and staff in our Cancer and Blood Diseases Institute work as focused teams to provide the most innovative care for the most difficult cancer cases in the world for children and young adults.

“The foundation for our No. 1 ranking cancer program is our people and our culture,” says John Perentesis, MD, FAAP, co-director of the Cancer and Blood Diseases Institute. “Our patients and families will always be at the center of our team. We are passionate about the need to think differently about innovation for big leaps with new therapies and care.”

In addition to thinking differently, each of our clinical teams is embedded with basic science researchers. This close collaboration allows advances from the laboratory to reach children as quickly as possible.

We also invest in the latest technology to make cancer treatment safer and more effective for children and young adults − and to innovate to take them to the next level. Our $120 million Proton Therapy and Research Center is already transforming how children receive radiation therapy.

We also are a leader at providing new CAR T-cell therapy for treating B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and lymphomas and we have developed other innovative immune cell therapies that are not available at other medical centers.

“We have the largest array of new anti-cancer treatments for children of any medical center in the country. As a result, children with very complex cases are referred here from all around the world,” Perentesis says.

Why We Stand Out

  • We were one of the first centers on the globe to use precision tumor and leukemia DNA sequencing to guide treatment for children and young adults with relapsed and high-risk cancers. Since 2012, our precision medicine program has used tumor DNA results on over 900 patients to direct therapy decisions, leading to responses and better outcomes.
  • We are the leading national center for pediatric bone marrow transplants and in developing anti-cancer immune therapies.
  • We have developed an innovative fertility preservation program that will help more survivors enter their reproductive years with the hopes of starting families of their own.
  • Our ongoing research ranges from developing novel ways to treat deadly cancers, brain tumors, lymphomas and leukemias, to groundbreaking methods to combine proton therapy with immune therapy treatments. Patients here often can gain access to pediatric and young adult clinical trials that would not be available at other centers.

> Read more about Kelly’s journey

Our Scorecard


U.S. News & World Report scored our cancer program on outcomes & experience; numbers of patients & procedures; key programs, services & staff; professional recognition; quality improvement efforts; and patient support.

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