Cancer Biology and Immunotherapies

Cancer is a major public health issue and the second leading cause of death in the United States. It is estimated that over 1.5 million new cases are diagnosed each year and over 600,000 deaths occur annually from this disease. Cancer is when normal cells in our body gain the ability to grow uncontrollably, forming a tumor. This growth can be caused by alterations in our genetic make-up that we either inherit from our parents or by mutations from external toxins. Cancer can also spread, or metastasize, from its original location to a secondary location.

The Cancer Biology and Immunotherapies Group at Sanford Research work towards reducing the immense burden of cancer. Research studies are focused on uncovering the basic mechanisms underlying the development of cancer, understanding the importance of the immune system and in turn developing novel approaches to treat cancer. With strong basic and translation research, this group has strengths and expertise in pediatric brain tumors, osteosarcoma, leukemia, head and neck cancers, and breast cancer. A robust oncology clinical trial program has been established, including immunotherapy trials that harness the power of the immune system to destroy tumors as well as physician initiated trials.

The National Institutes of Health-funded Cancer Biology Research Center of Biomedical Research Excellence is held in this group as well as the Edith Sanford Breast Cancer initiative. The initiative pursues cutting-edge genomic research to identify specialized treatments and prevention plans tailored for each individual in order to eradicate breast cancer.

Primary Faculty