Cancer Research

Innovation: Advances In Cancer Care

Feb 28, 2020

If you have a loved one with cancer, you wait with anticipation for the next big advance in cancer treatment. And if you live far away from hospitals with access to those latest advancements, you agonize over decisions about travel and expense, risk and potential benefit. 

Today we look at advances in cancer care right here at home, including cellular therapy. 

The American Cancer Society estimates more than four-thousand South Dakotans will receive a cancer diagnosis this year. But that’s not the only number advocates bring to elected officials to make the case for research funding.

During its annual South Dakota Policy Luncheon, the state American Cancer Society chapter highlighted the economic impact of cancer research. 

In the last fiscal year, the National Institute of Health invested nearly $24 million in South Dakota. That resulted in $71 million of new economic activity, and more than 500 jobs.

South Dakota School of Mines and Technology

Researchers at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology are looking at new chemical-free treatments for cancer.  The School of Mines has been researching the efficacy of using cold plasma to destroy cancer cells while leaving healthy cells intact.

Dr. Prasoon Diwakar is an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the School of Mines. He says their goal is to come up with a more effective and less toxic treatment option.

Avera Leads International Lung Cancer Treatment Trial

Jan 19, 2018
Avera Health

The Avera Cancer Institute in Sioux Falls is partnering with an international research organization for a ground-breaking study of lung cancer treatment. Members of the team believe this study could help eradicate metastatic cancer by 2025.

Dr. Vladimir Lazar is the founder of the World Innovative Networking Consortium (WIN). According to Dr. Lazar, 60% of lung cancer patients are first diagnosed after the cancer has metastasized. Less than 3% of those patients survive longer than five years after their diagnosis. 


Sanford oncologist and cancer researcher Dr. Steven Powell was among a team of researchers who discovered that the drug olanzaphine significantly improved nausea prevention in patients who were receiving chemotherapy for cancer treatment. The findings were recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine.


Sanford Research

Dr. John Lee, a physician scientist in the Cancer Biology Research Center, is expanding his research by joining the founder of the Cancer MoonShot 2020 program to accelerate the research into cancer treatment. Lee's focus is on head and neck cancers caused by human papilloma virus (HPV).

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During his State of the Union address President Barack Obama announced the establishment of a new initiative to accelerate cancer research called Cancer Moonshot. The initiative comes with a billion dollar pledge and is being led by Vice-President Joe Biden. The goal is to make therapies available to more patients and also improve early detection. Last week the vice president held a nationwide summit. We are recreating the panel that met at Avera Health in Sioux Falls on Dakota. Midday.

Guests Include:

Dr. Luis Rojas - Avera Medical Group Gynecologic Oncology

Cancer, says Vice President Joe Biden, is personal.

He spoke at the South Dakota Cancer Moonshot Summit via simultaneous, nationwide livestream, calling for cooperation, innovation, and accountability in cancer research and treatment nationwide.

SDPB’s Director of Radio Cara Hetland brings you scenes from the Summit, including impassioned comments from the vice-president: "Time matters. Days matter. Minutes matter."

Steven F. Powell, MD is a medical oncologist and clinician scientist at Sanford Health, based in Sioux Falls, SD. Dr. Powell is also an assistant professor in Internal Medicine at the University Of South Dakota Sanford School Of Medicine. He serves as a sub-investigator for Sanford Health’s National Cancer Institute Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP). In addition to this, he serves as a principal investigator for several industry-sponsored and investigator-initiated studies. Dr.

Sanford Health

Next week, SDPB-TV airs the latest Ken Burns documentary, Cancer the Emperor of All Maladies. The three-part, six-hour series covers the first documented appearances of cancer thousands of years ago through today’s battles to cure, control and conquer the disease.

Sanford Health

75 years ago, Canton, South Dakota native Ernest O. Lawrence accepted the Nobel Prize in Physics for the invention and development of the cyclotron particle accelerator. Among the uses of  the cyclotron today is in medicine to make relatively short-lived radioisotopes for imaging and research.

Dr. Christopher Fischer is a nuclear medicine specialist at Sanford Health in Sioux Falls. He joined Dakota Midday and discussed the use of the cyclotron in nuclear medicine and cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Dakota Midday: Author Advocates Metabolic Theory of Cancer

Mar 25, 2015

The metabolic theory of cancer has been rejected by the scientific establishment, but in his book, Tripping Over the Truth, South Dakota author Travis Christofferson argues for taking a closer look at alternative cancer research. The metabolic theory is that cancer is not a genetic disease, but rather a disease of metabolism. Christofferson’s book looks at the history of cancer research over the last century.

Cruciferous Vegetables And Cancer Metastasis

Jan 23, 2015
South Dakota State University

Associate professor Moul Dey and her team have examined whether phenethyl isothiocyante, a dietary compound produced when people chew cruciferous vegetables such as watercress, broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower, can help prevent recurrence and metastasis of cancer.  Using cancer stem cells of human origin, they found that it may be effective as a dietary approach for preventing recurrence and metastasis and improving therapeutic outcomes for cancer patients.  Dr. Dey described her work and plans for future tests.

Matt Ellefson was first diagnosed with late stage lung cancer five years ago. After experimental treatment in Houston, the Sioux Falls man’s cancer went into remission. But since then, he’s had three recurrences. The most recent was this past summer after some 20 months with clean scans.

Sanford Health

The National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health is giving Sanford Health more than $7.1 million for cancer research. The five year grant is for recruiting participants for clinical trials, quality of life studies and cancer care delivery research. It’s one of 53 awarded nationwide through the institute’s Community Oncology Research Program. Dr. David Pearce is vice president and chief operating officer of Sanford Research.

Sanford Health

Sanford Health has partnered with Chronix Biomedical in a new cancer study. The basis of the study is the ability to map out whole genomes of cancer cells. The big question: can this ability be used to predict how cancer patients will respond to different therapies? Dr. John Lee of Sanford Health joined the program to discuss the study, along with Chronix Biomedical CEO Dr. Howard Urnovitz and Professor Ekkehard Schutz, Chief Techonology Officer of Chronix. 

Avera Team Uses Genetics to Fight Cancer

Jun 6, 2014
Avera Medical

Dr. Brian Leyland-Jones leads the applied genomics team that specializes in scientific and medical aspects of cancer at Avera McKennan. He joined the program to discuss genetics in a clinic setting, as well as the possibility of cancer treatments beyond chemotherapy.

It is commonly known that pink is the color for breast cancer… but did you know that teal is the color for ovarian cancer? Jenn Sommermann is a survivor of the disease- and has made it her goal to raise money for the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund or OCRF- while educating people along the way about this type of cancer. Through her 50 by 50 by 100 campaign- Sommermann participates in triathlons around the country- and will race in South Dakota at the end of August.