Sanford Health unveils breast cancer initiativeSanford Health has announced a $100 million effort to find a cure for breast cancer, which will fund a new cancer center in Sioux Falls, the expansion of an existing facility in Fargo and the creation of a library of genetic information from women of all ages, medical histories and backgrounds.
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Sanford Health has announced a $100 million effort to find a cure for breast cancer, which will fund a new cancer center in Sioux Falls, the expansion of an existing facility in Fargo and the creation of a library of genetic information from women of all ages, medical histories and backgrounds.
The initiative will be funded by retired banker and philanthropist T. Denny Sanford of Sioux Falls, the Dakotas-based company announced Wednesday. Sanford has given more than half a billion dollars to what has become the nation's largest not-for-profit rural health care provider.
“Sanford Health is taking a very personal and courageous step in changing the global landscape of breast cancer research and care, marking a turning point for all of us — our mothers, daughters, sisters, our families,” said Sanford, whose mother died of breast cancer when he was 4 years old.
The Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Center to be built on Sanford Health's Sioux Falls campus will be named in her honor. Construction will start next year, with an opening likely in 2014, said Sanford CEO Kelby Krabbenhoft. In Fargo, the Roger Maris Cancer Center, named for the late New York Yankees slugger who grew up in North Dakota's largest city, will be expanded by 2017.
The new cancer center in Sioux Falls will house a repository of female genetic samples that will serve as a library for researchers.
“Our vision is to eradicate breast cancer through personalized medicine,” said Eugene Hoyme, a geneticist and president of research for Sanford. “With a comprehensive genetic picture, we will know more specifically what treatments will work with each woman, how to prevent disease on an individual basis and ultimately find a cure.”
South Dakota native and Hollywood star Mary Hart, the former longtime host of “Entertainment Tonight,” will be the spokeswoman for the initiative.
“(It) will give women the opportunity to play an active role in cutting-edge research,” she said.