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Sanford honored for excellence in cancer care, immunotherapy

Patients get expanded access to clinical trials

PHILADELPHIA – Sanford Health’s work to expand immunotherapy options for cancer patients across the Midwest has earned the health system recognition from the Institute for Clinical Immuno-Oncology, an initiative of the Association of Community Cancer Centers. Sanford Cancer Center is the recipient of the 2016 ICLIO Innovator Award.

Steven Powell, M.D., an oncologist and cancer researcher at Sanford, accepted the award Friday at the ICLIO National Conference, which annually provides a comprehensive look at the emerging clinical applications of cancer immunotherapy.

Sanford was selected for its advanced research program, multidisciplinary approach and efforts to provide immunotherapy options to community cancer centers across its footprint.

“Several years ago, Sanford identified immunotherapy as a key initiative for our cancer program,” said Powell. “Our physicians are committed to identifying the latest and best treatment options for patients and making them accessible to the population we serve.”

Sanford has developed a comprehensive research program that uses tumor-specific video conferences and multidisciplinary molecular tumor boards to evaluate patients for clinical trial eligibility and immunotherapy treatment options. The program uses system-wide virtual conferences to assist in decision making and expand access to immunotherapy for patients located in more rural areas.

Sanford handles more than 4,500 cancer cases each year and has more than 20 cancer clinical trials available for patients. There are four major cancer centers within Sanford, all of which serve as regional hubs to deliver immunotherapy and other novel treatment to cancer patients. Locations include Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Fargo, North Dakota; Bismarck, North Dakota; and Bemidji, Minnesota.

As part of the conference, Powell also joined Sharon Hunt, executive director of cancer services at Sanford, for a panel discussion on delivering immunotherapy in community settings.

For more information on Sanford’s ICLIO Innovator Award, visit

About Sanford Health
Sanford Health is an integrated health system headquartered in the Dakotas. It is one of the largest health systems in the nation with 43 hospitals and nearly 250 clinics in nine states and four countries. Sanford Health’s 27,000 employees, including 1,400 physicians, make it the largest employer in the Dakotas. Nearly $1 billion in gifts from philanthropist Denny Sanford have allowed for several initiatives, including global children's clinics, genomic medicine and specialized centers researching cures for type 1 diabetes, breast cancer and other diseases. For more information, visit

Tim Gerszewski

Sanford Health Media Relations

605-366-2432 /