1. The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia: It's the only hospital in the country to be a member of all three government-funded groups that conduct experimental research for pediatric cancer. Its findings have led to treatments for neuroblastoma, and are providing clues about new therapies for leukemia, brain tumors, and sarcomas (tumors that develop in soft bone tissues).
2. St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis: It provides complimentary state-of-the-art care for some of the sickest cancer patients from across the country. Despite treating some of the most stubborn cases, a young patients' chances of being cured are excellent, including a 93% five-year survival rate for acute lymphoblastic leukemia, one of the best of our survey.
3. Texas Children's Hospital, Houston: Its high survival rates are complemented by tremendous comfort and support for cancer patients and their families. The staff includes six psychologists, eight social workers, and four full-time child life specialists (trained professionals who help relieve a patient's anxiety through play and education).
4. Children's Hospital Boston: The hospital is conducting further studies on a form of chemotherapy it developed that is much easier on the patient. Early results show it is very effective on 25% of hard-to-treat cases. Unlike traditional chemotherapy, which is given through IVs, Boston's approach is administered orally, requiring fewer visits to the hospital.
5. (tie) Children's Healthcare of Atlanta: It enrolls 91% of its eligible cancer patients in studies -- one of the highest percentages in our survey -- and employs a 26-member family support team for its cancer patients. This team includes nine social workers, six child life specialists (trained professionals who help relieve a patient's anxiety through play and education), and two psychologists.
5. (tie) Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center: The facility's cancer specialists are enrolling patients with high-risk gliomas, a particularly difficult-to-treat brain tumor, in a novel study that includes the insertion of a gene into healthy blood cells. The goal is to make them resistant to the damage that is usually caused by high doses of chemotherapy.
Runners-Up: 7. Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital, Cleveland; 8. The Children's Hospital, Denver; 9. Children's Hospital & Regional Medical Center, Seattle; and 10. Columbus Children's Hospital