The Government of Monaco and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Join Efforts to Speed Progress against Pediatric Leukemia in Morocco

Monaco commits to a five-year initiative with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital that aims to raise cure rates for children with acute myeloid leukemia in Morocco

The Government of Monaco has awarded a grant to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., to further research and treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) for children and young adults in Morocco.

Monaco’s Office of International Cooperation and Development, a division that provides support for programs in developing countries, has committed €490,000 (almost $650,000) over the next five years to Morocco’s two pediatric oncology centers—Hôpital d’Enfants in Rabat and Hôpital 20 Août 1953 in Casablanca. Since 2000, St. Jude has worked with these medical facilities through its International Outreach Program (IOP), an initiative to share knowledge, technology and organizational skills worldwide to help increase cure rates of children with cancer.

“The Government of Monaco has been a fervent supporter of St. Jude since 1998 when the Principality hosted the hospital’s first international fundraising gala,” said Maguy Maccario-Doyle, Consul General of Monaco in New York. “Over the years and through many projects, the relationship has flourished, leading to this most recent effort.”

AML is a cancer of the white blood cells, in which cancer cells accumulate in the bone marrow, replacing normal blood cells; the cancer can spread with deadly results to the liver, spleen, skin or central nervous system. At St. Jude, about 70 percent of pediatric patients with AML achieve long-term remissions with chemotherapy treatments or stem cell transplantation. However, in Morocco cure rates are dramatically lower, hovering between 35 to 40 percent. Therapy complications, predominately infections, are often to blame.

“This project will hopefully provide a model that can be replicated to treat and cure other types of cancer in Morocco,” said Raul Ribeiro, M.D., director of the St. Jude IOP, and a member of the St. Jude Oncology department. “Financial support of this nature allows St. Jude to continue sharing knowledge and technology with other countries to improve diagnosis and treatments, ultimately increasing the survival rates of children in Morocco and around the globe.”

The funding from Monaco will help supply chemotherapy and antimicrobial medications to children and young adults undergoing treatment for AML and will create an AML supportive care infrastructure that includes training and mentoring at the hospitals in Rabat and Casablanca.

Avenir (Association des Parents et Amis des Enfants) and Agir (Association Marocaine de Soutien Aux Malades du Sang), the respective foundations for Hôpital d’Enfants and Hôpital 20 Août 1953, will also contribute to the project. Additionally, the Royal Family of Morocco will be involved through H.R.H. Princess Lalla Maryem’s association against cancer.


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