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Sanford Research in South Dakota Receives NIH Grant in Head and Neck, Pediatric Cancers


The Cancer Biology Research Center at Sanford Research in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, is the recipient of a 5-year, nearly $11.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to translate laboratory research into clinical trials for head and neck and pediatric cancers.

The grant was awarded as part of the NIH’s Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence, which supports activity that enhances institutional research capacity. The Cancer Biology Research Center at Sanford Research also received a nearly $11.5 million grant in 2011 to develop a group of basic science and translational cancer researchers. The most recent award represents phase II of the project.

Research Supported

Paola Vermeer, PhD

Paola Vermeer, PhD

W. Chad Spanos, MD

W. Chad Spanos, MD

Steven Powell, MD

Steven Powell, MD

Samuel Milanovich, MD

Samuel Milanovich, MD

Four research projects and two core laboratories highlight the grant. The following researchers and projects will receive funding:

  • Paola Vermeer, PhD, will study how immune cell interactions affect metastasis of cancer tumors and potential immunotherapy options based on biomarkers
  • W. Chad Spanos, MD, will look at ways to optimize the immune system’s response to head and neck cancer caused by human ­papillomavirus
  • Steven Powell, MD, will explore pembrolizumab in head and neck cancer
  • Samuel Milanovich, MD, will study the genetic mutations that might be associated with leukemia ■


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