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St. Jude Children's Research Hospital Establishes Charlotte Clinic

Michael Tomsic

One of the nation's most respected cancer hospitals for children is establishing an affiliate clinic in Charlotte. St. Jude Children's Research Hospital announced Tuesday it's partnering with Novant Health on the clinic.

There was a carnival atmosphere on the lawn out front of Novant Health Hemby Children's Hospital near uptown. There were balloons, loud music, costumes, jugglers and a few young patients enjoying a distraction from treatment.

Novant president of the Charlotte market Andy Mueller said the collaboration with St. Jude is worth celebrating.

"This will be the first affiliate clinic in the Carolinas, and one of only seven across the entire country," he said during a press conference.

It'll be located in what used to be Novant's Blume Pediatric Hematology & Oncology clinic.

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, opened in 1962 and has become world renowned for cancer treatment. Its clinical director, Dr. Larry Kun, says it also has affiliate clinics in Johnson City, Tennessee, Alabama, Louisiana, Missouri and Illinois.

"Together they really extend the reach of new therapies and a level of support that can't otherwise be given," he says.

Dr. Kun says St. Jude was attracted to Novant's experience with clinical trials, as well as Charlotte's location.

"We'd like to provide care in a large region where we can enhance the care through a major metropolitan area like Charlotte, and a region, which you have here in central North Carolina and nearby South Carolina," he says.

Novant's Dr. Jessica Bell will be one of the main doctors involved in the clinic. She says it’ll allow patients to stay closer to home.

"Some treatments last for several years for some of the most common cancers," she says, "so if you can imagine being a family let's say from Charlotte who always has to go to Memphis for every aspect of your care, well, the majority of that we can actually do here."

Patients won't receive bills for their care. As is normally the case with St. Jude, the clinic will bill insurance companies and cover any leftover cost.