Philanthropist T. Denny Sanford has reaffirmed his commitment to Sanford-Burnham and expressed his confidence in our interim chief executive officer, Kristiina Vuori, M.D., Ph.D., by pledging a seven-figure donation to cancer research.
“At this time of transition, I want to provide both financial support and a personal endorsement of Sanford-Burnham’s excellence,” said Mr. Sanford. “I have the utmost confidence in the Institute’s future and Dr. Vuori’s leadership as interim CEO.” Mr. Sanford’s previous pledges to the Institute total in excess of $70 million, including the transformative gift that resulted in the Institute’s name change in 2010.
Vuori, president of the Institute since 2010, was named interim CEO last month when John C. Reed, M.D., Ph.D., stepped down from the position. Reed and Vuori worked closely together during a time when the Institute emerged as a world leader in research and early-stage drug discovery.
“Mr. Sanford has made an indelible mark on this institution through financial support which he has characterized as investments in medical research. He envisions a healthier future and we are honored to be part of that vision,” Vuori said. “As a cancer researcher, this latest substantial gift means a great deal to me personally, as well as to Sanford-Burnham.”
Vuori and her research team are investigating how individual tumors can differ genetically and why a treatment that works for one patient may not work for another. To find therapeutic drugs that work for specific breast tumor types, Vuori’s team will work with drug discovery experts in Sanford-Burnham’s Conrad Prebys Center for Chemical Genomics. The goal is to identify chemical compounds that have the potential to become new, more personalized, breast cancer therapies.
South Dakota-based Sanford Health, also supported by Mr. Sanford and home to the Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Foundation, shares a commitment to unlocking the full potential of genomics to eradicate breast cancer, and will participate in the study. A genomics-based approach is one of the most promising ways of treating certain cancers.
In addition to her role as president and interim CEO, Vuori is also director of Sanford-Burnham’s National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center and holds the Pauline and Stanley Foster Presidential Chair and the Jeanne and Gary Herberger Leadership Chair in Cancer Research.
With investments from philanthropists like T. Denny Sanford, Sanford-Burnham researchers will leverage the Institute’s powerful technology platforms to achieve continued success in drug discovery for cancer and numerous other diseases.