#WeAreTKE

It's time to author the next chapter of TKE history.

Our Dedication to Inclusion

St. Jude Commitment
TKE Commits to raise $10 Million in 10 Years

Why St. Jude?

On August 3, at Conclave 2019 in Orlando, Grand Prytanis Christopher T. Hanson proudly announced our commitment to embark on our most ambitious fundraising campaign yet.

“It is a great honor to share with you our next step in helping to achieve Frater Danny Thomas’s dream that ‘no child should die in the dawn of life.’ Today, we make history. Today, we dedicate ourselves to building a better world by making the largest commitment by any men’s fraternity to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Today, we officially begin our campaign to raise $10 million over the next ten years for the children of St. Jude,” stated Hanson.

This commitment to St. Jude, one that will name the Bone Marrow Transplantation and Research Labs Floor, is one of the most significant philanthropic commitments of any men’s fraternity.

Bone marrow transplantation is part of standard treatment for certain types of diseases, including acute myeloid leukemia and treatment-resistant acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The bone marrow transplantation program at St. Jude is one of the largest pediatric programs in the world.

 “[Danny] was so proud to call himself a member of TKE and I know he would be overjoyed to see how his brothers continue to work together to help St. Jude lead the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. God bless the good hearts of the men of Tau Kappa Epsilon.”


Marlo Thomas,
St. Jude National Outreach Director
and daughter of Frater Danny Thomas

Since 2011, the men of Tau Kappa Epsilon have raised more than $4 million to support the children of St. Jude. TKE’s original commitment to the hospital was to raise $1 million in five years to name an MRI suite. This was completed a year early. The second commitment to raise $2.6 million in six years to name the Proton Therapy Synchrotron/Particle Accelerator was met nearly three years early.

In a recent letter to TKE Chief Executive Officer, Donald E. Aldrich, Frater Danny’s daughter Marlo Thomas said, “He was so proud to call himself a member of TKE, and I know he would be overjoyed to see how his brothers continue to work together to help St. Jude lead the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life threatening diseases.”

To learn more about Tau Kappa Epsilon’s new commitment, please visit TKE.org/StJude.

Watch the Announcement Video and help support our commitment by making a gift.

Tau Kappa Epsilon’s support for the laboratories in the Department of Bone Marrow Transplantation and Cellular Therapy at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital means investing in the science that can lead to the next big discovery. St. Jude is on the cutting-edge of both laboratory and clinical research, under the direction of Dr. Stephen Gottschalk, a leader in the field of bone marrow transplantation and cancer immunotherapy.

Why bone marrow transplantation?

Bone marrow transplantation is part of standard treatment for certain types of diseases, including acute myeloid leukemia and treatment-resistant acute lymphoblastic leukemia. More than 3,000 transplants have been performed here since 1982, making St. Jude one of the largest pediatric programs in the world. While bone marrow or stem cell transplants can offer a cure to children, the complexity of the procedure comes with significant risk. Researchers are working tirelessly to improve outcomes for patients as well as to make the potential cure accessible to more people.

The promising efforts of this talented team have the potential to save thousands of lives in the future.

For example, historically, in order to re-ceive a bone marrow transplant, patients had to have a marrow or stem cell donor whose blood matched theirs in several key markers. Less than 60 percent of patients will have a matched donor—usually a sibling or someone found through a registry of potential donors. St. Jude pioneered what is known as the haploidentical transplant, meaning the transplant could be performed even if the donor was only partially matched—opening the door for parents to become marrow or stem cell donors for their child.

Research from St. Jude showed that bone marrow transplant survival more than doubled in recent years for young, high-risk leukemia patients. The greatest improvements in survival were patients who had haploidentical donors. These findings are truly a game-changer for children with leukemia: Bone marrow transplants are now possible for children without matched donors—who otherwise had no hope for a cure.

The remarkable advancements in this field over the past 30 years have also paved the way for other cellular therapies. These exciting, pioneering efforts—including immunotherapy, gene therapy and the use of gene editing—are widely believed to be the next frontier in medicine.

Here’s a glimpse of some of the research efforts currently underway:

  • Researchers at St. Jude are currently working in our laboratories to create an immunotherapy treatment for acute myeloid leukemia, which is very rare in children and has a very poor prognosis. This type of experimentation involves quite a bit of trial and error because of the many steps involved in the process, to determine if a treatment is not only effective but also safe for children. Before this work can be translated into a clinical trial, scientists must figure out the ideal structure of CAR-T cells to use in the treatment, as well as how to best prepare a patient in advance of treatment, and how to avoid inducing a dangerous reaction in patients. They are hopeful that a clinical trial could open at
    St. Jude by the end of 2019.
  • St. Jude researchers are studying how immunotherapy could be used to treat patients with solid tumors. Unfortunately, outcomes for children with recurrent or metastatic solid tumors are poor. St. Jude scientists are investigating the use of a particular form of CAR-T cell to save these children? While this work is currently taking place in labs, the ultimate goal is to move the research to the clinic.
  • Scientists are investigating ways to genetically engineer CAR-T cells to treat children with brain tumors. Brain tumors are devastating—even when cured, children suffer from terrible long-term effects from the cancer and its treatments. Researchers are hoping to use gene editing to fix a problem in the patients’ DNA and then return the cells to fight the tumor. Using a process called “knock out and knock in,” the team is experimenting with using gene editing technologies to silence the problematic gene and insert something better into the cell.

I truly believe that your Frater, and St. Jude founder, Danny Thomas would be so proud of the love, charity and esteem that his brothers personify in making this incredible new commitment. With the naming of the Bone Marrow Transplantation and Cellular Therapy Research Laboratories, you help St. Jude be a "place that's full of hope" for patients like Carson – who received a cutting-edge haploidentical bone marrow transplant, made possible by this lab, that provided the critical treatment he needed. Thank you for helping to make a better world for the kids of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and those whom our research and discoveries touch around the globe.


Richard C. Shadyac Jr.,
President and Chief Executive Officer ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital