Skip To Content

Search the Newsroom:

(Seperate multiple keywords with a comma)

JDRF Launches Innovative Cure Collaboration Partnership with Sanford Health

Three-Year Sanford Award Funded To Enable A Rising Research Star to Pursue a Creative, Highly Compelling Scientific Concept.

New York, NY, June 5, 2009 – The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International, the world’s leading charitable funder and advocate of diabetes research, said today that it is partnering with Sanford Health, an integrated health care system in South Dakota and the Midwest, in an innovative “cure collaboration” to speed the pace of diabetes research and delivery of cures at the point-of-care.

The JDRF and Sanford Health partnership brings together the patient focus of Sanford’s dynamic, integrated healthcare system with JDRF’s 40 years of experience and patients-interests first leadership in diabetes research.

The Sanford Project is focused on curing type 1 diabetes; it is one of four initiatives resulting from a $400 million gift to Sanford Health in 2007 by South Dakota businessman and philanthropist T. Denny Sanford. By partnering and leveraging JDRF’s unmatched awareness of the leading edge in diabetes related research, The Sanford Project – Cure Collaboration insures the projected $100 million per year investment can be deployed most effectively to build critical resources, cultivate talent and deliver results for individuals and families personally affected by Type 1 diabetes.

The initial phase of the partnership includes The Sanford Award, a three year JDRF grant, funded by Sanford Health. The Sanford Award will identify bold, scientists who are “rising stars” and support their most creative and innovative ideas.

“JDRF and Sanford Health recognize that the goal of a cure for Type 1 diabetes will be accelerated through the sharing of knowledge and resources facilitated by a dynamic “cure collaboration”," said David Link, Executive Vice President, Sanford Health.

“The Sanford Project is designed for results, and is intended to be a new way of advancing biomedical research by bridging the worlds of research and clinical treatment,” said Alan Lewis, PhD, President and CEO of JDRF. “The Sanford Project - Cure Collaboration enhances JDRF’s bedside-to-bench-to-bedside research platforms in regeneration and autoimmunity by linking them to Sanford Health’s translational research infrastructure.”

According to David Link, “The Sanford Project - Cure Collaboration will provide Sanford Health patients greater access to the most advanced therapies and technologies via clinical trials and early adoption of evidence-based best practices. It will also leverage and enhance the data network utility provided by the health system’s integrated electronic medical record system, DocZ which will help patients with type 1 diabetes and physicians better manage treatment protocols and follow-up appointments - in order to achieve the best possible outcome.

US News & World Report has recognized Sanford as a leader in Diabetes Care.

About Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that affects children, adolescents, and adults, in which the immune system attacks cells in the pancreas that produce insulin, a hormone that enables people to convert food into energy. People with type 1 diabetes are dependent on insulin for the rest of their life. But insulin is not a cure, and people with diabetes are at significant risk for a wide range of serious complications, including heart disease, blindness and kidney disease. As many as 3 million people in the U.S. have type 1 diabetes.

About JDRF

JDRF is a leader in setting the agenda for diabetes research worldwide, and is the largest charitable funder and advocate of type 1 research. The mission of JDRF is to find a cure for diabetes and its complications through the support of research. Type 1 diabetes is a disease which strikes children and adults suddenly and requires multiple injections of insulin daily or a continuous infusion of insulin through a pump. Insulin, however, is not a cure for diabetes, nor does it prevent its eventual and devastating complications which may include kidney failure, blindness, heart disease, stroke, and amputation. Since its founding in 1970 by parents of children with type 1 diabetes, JDRF has awarded more than $1.3 billion to diabetes research, including more than $156 million in FY2008. In FY2008 the Foundation funded more than 1,000 centers, grants and fellowships in 22 countries.  For more information, visit

About Sanford Health

Based in Sioux Falls, SD, Sanford Health’s comprehensive, integrated system includes nearly 440 providers in 128 clinic and satellite clinics. It also includes 23 hospitals, 12 nursing homes, 18 assisted living facilities and congregate living locations, 27 home health services and 19 pharmacies. With more than 10,000 employees, Sanford Health is the largest employer in the region. Its primary, 500-bed nonprofit tertiary care hospital in Sioux Falls, SD, serves an average of more than 50,000 inpatients annually. With more than 1.25 million outpatient visits each year, Sanford Health has served the 80,000 square mile, five-state region of South Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and North Dakota for more than 110 years. Sanford Health is the largest healthcare system between Denver, CO and Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. Its divisions include Sanford USD Medical Center, Sanford Clinic, Sanford Health Network, Sanford Health Plan and Sanford Health Foundation. For more information, visit

About The Sanford Project

The Sanford Project is focused on curing type 1 diabetes; it is one of four initiatives resulting from a $400 million gift to Sanford Health in 2007 by South Dakota businessman and philanthropist T. Denny Sanford. In partnership with JDRF, The Sanford Project is designed to expedite beta cell regeneration and autoimmunity discoveries to cure therapies. The JDRF and Sanford Health partnership brings together the patient focus of Sanford’s dynamic, integrated healthcare system with JDRF’s 40 years of experience in diabetes research to accelerate the discovery, development, and delivery of cures. The Sanford Project in combination with Sanford Research/USD is projected to grow to a $100 million per year investment. For more information, visit

About Sanford Research/USD

In 1998 a non-profit research organization was formed between Sanford Health and the University of South Dakota. In 2007, a transformational gift of $400 million by Denny Sanford has allowed for an expansion of current research goals and will enable Sanford Research/USD to become one of the premiere research institutions in the United States and the world. Over the years, Sanford Research/USD has made significant contributions to the research areas of cardiovascular health, women’s health, cancer biology, disparities, pediatrics, metabolism/nutrition and genomics.

Additional Quotes

“At its most fundamental level, the JDRF-Sanford ‘Cure Collaboration’ is about a shared promise... A promise Moms and Dads and people personally affected by Type 1 diabetes make to their loved-ones and one another that they will do all they can to find a cure. It is about the attention and resources that community leaders like Denny Sanford, and leading organizations like JDRF and Sanford Health can deliver. And it is about the purposeful genius that dedicated scientists like Drs. Burn and Rabinovitch can bring to solving complex human problems. Through it we will take concrete steps, together, to turn the promise of research into promises kept for a cure.”
S. Robert Levine, M.D., Board of Chancellors, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International

“If new approaches and therapies for type 1 diabetes being developed are able to succeed here, in Sioux Falls SD, then we can and most assuredly will succeed everywhere.” I think of the Sanford Health System as a notable and necessary proving ground for the large and small clinical successes that will be essential for delivering new, life changing therapies to people with type 1 diabetes. The value of successfully piloting programs within Sanford and fine-tuning them based on lessons learned, will benefit people with type 1 diabetes here in Sioux Falls, throughout the United States and internationally. “
Paul S. Strumph, M.D., Vice President Medical Affairs, Chief Medical Officer, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International

The Sanford Award – allows JDRF & Sanford Health to identify and support rising research stars with bold and compelling scientific concepts in regeneration and autoimmunity. Beta cell regeneration, the focus of The Sanford Project is one of the more promising cure therapeutic areas funded by JDRF. Regeneration research focuses on triggering the body to re-grow the insulin-producing beta cells that have been killed by the autoimmune response and to prevent destruction of the newly regenerated cells by the same autoimmune reaction. The Sanford Project - Cure Collaboration is an opportunity to strengthen our partnership with Paul Burn, Alex Rabinovitch and the entire Sanford Health team which will facilitate the translation of research discoveries to clinical reality. It is a win -win for everyone whose lives are impacted by type 1 diabetes.”
Patricia L. Kilian, Ph. D., Director, Regeneration, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International JDRF