The Sanford Project

The mission of The Sanford Project is to identify and deliver a cure for type 1 diabetes in Denny Sanford’s life time.

The Sanford Project is an emerging translational research center focused on targeted diabetes research,  cures and care.

Worldwide, about 70,000 children aged under 14 years are developing type 1 diabetes per year. Type 1 diabetes, also termed juvenile-onset or insulin-dependent diabetes, is an autoimmune disease and metabolic disorder characterized by an immune-mediated destruction of insulin-secreting beta-cells of the pancreas, resulting in insulin deficiency and hyperglycemia. The primary clinical signs of type 1 diabetes are ketoacidosis - which can lead to coma and death - and chronic hyperglycemia. Chronic hyperglycemia is the primary cause of several macrovascular and microvascular diabetic complications. Insulin-replacement therapy is the life-saving first-line treatment for people diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Insulin-replacement therapy is, however, not a cure and cannot prevent the further progression of the disease and the development of long-term diabetic complications. Thus, the identification of disease-modifying therapies and cures remain a major unmet medical need and the focus of The Sanford Project. 

The Sanford Project team:

  • uses translational research approaches that are built on recent advancements in regenerative and personalized medicine
  • designs and conducts pre-clinical and clinical proof-of-concept studies that are aimed at stimulating endogenous repair mechanisms resulting in the regeneration of insulin-producing beta-cells
  • investigates and assesses the potential beneficial effects of FDA-approved drugs, clinical candidate molecules and other approaches in delaying the new-onset, halting the further progression, or reversing type 1 diabetes in subjects with newly diagnosed or established disease

If successful, safe and clinically relevant solutions and cures for patients diagnosed with type 1 diabetes will emerge in the near future.

To succeed a unique partnership has been put in place between The Sanford Project team, Sanford Clinical Research, and the Sanford family of Hospitals & Clinics. It is complemented in its activities by the national and international network of Sanford Children's Clinics and the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute with operations in La Jolla, CA and Orlando, FL. 

The Sanford Project is one of the four Sanford Health initiatives made possible through the paramount generosities of Denny Sanford’s transformational $400 million gift. Those initiatives include programming designed to improve the health and well-being of children across the world, including Sanford World Clinic, Sanford fit,  the Sanford Castles of Care, and advancement of Sanford Health research centers. A subsequent gift of $10 million was made to The Sanford Project by the Todd & Linda Broin family.

The Sanford Project Faculty:

Sanford Research - Kurt Griffin

Kurt Griffin, MD, PhD
Director of Clinical Trials and Scientist
The Sanford Project

Sanford Project - Alexei Savinov Alexei Savinov, MD, PhD
Associate Scientist
The Sanford Project
Sanford Project - Alex Rabinovitch Alex Rabinovitch, MD
Emeritus Senior Scientist
The Sanford Project