Sanford Health Expands Relationship with Founder of Cancer MoonShot 2020, NantHealth

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Sanford’s Dr. John Lee joins Chan Soon-Shiong Institute of Molecular Medicine

John Lee, M.D.

Cancer care is changing, and it will be imperative that organizations like Sanford and the Chan Soon-Shiong Institute of Molecular Medicine come together to develop and deliver the latest breakthroughs.

Sanford Health has expanded its relationship with Patrick Soon-Shiong, M.D., the founder of the national Cancer MoonShot 2020 program that is working to accelerate the potential of combination immunotherapy as the next-generation standard of care for cancer patients.

Dr. Soon-Shiong and Sanford Health, who are currently working together on cancer care for children, have expanded their relationship to include treating human papillomavirus-, or HPV-, related cancers like head and neck cancer, cervical cancer and anal cancer.

As part of this collaboration, Sanford Health’s John Lee, M.D., will relocate to California and join the Chan Soon-Shiong Institute of Molecular Medicine while retaining a part-time role with Sanford Health. Dr. Lee, a physician and scientist whose practice and lab specializes in cancer caused by HPV, this summer will become the Chan Soon-Shiong Institute of Molecular Medicine’s cancer center director. Dr. Lee will facilitate collaboration between Sanford and the Chan Soon-Shiong Institute of Molecular Medicine to advance cancer care and increase immunotherapy clinical trials available at Sanford.

“We are extremely pleased to expand our collaboration with Sanford Health to now include the treatment and care of HPV-related cancers,” said Dr. Soon-Shiong, CEO of the Chan Soon-Shiong Institute of Molecular Medicine. “HPV is an enormous health risk, in part because it can be acquired during adolescence and linger unnoticed for decades. The virus has been linked and believed to be a leading cause of several cancers that affect both men and women, especially cervical cancer. By joining forces, we hope to better our understanding of HPV-related cancers and more quickly develop treatments.”

The Chan Soon-Shiong Institute of Molecular Medicine, part of the Cancer MoonShot 2020 initiative, is focused on conducting translational medical research and developing technology in personalized molecular medicine. The organization is a division of the Chan Soon-Shiong NantHealth Foundation, which actively invests in innovative visions and partners with other institutions committed to advancements in science and medicine.

Dr. Soon-Shiong said, “We are also thrilled that Dr. Lee will shortly be joining CSSIMM as cancer center director. He brings a unique perspective gained as medical doctor, researcher and scientist. Importantly, his dual role will be instrumental in expediting the flow of information between the two organizations.”

“Cancer care is changing, and it will be imperative that organizations like Sanford and the Chan Soon-Shiong Institute of Molecular Medicine come together to develop and deliver the latest breakthroughs,” said Dr. Lee. “While it’s difficult to leave an organization like Sanford Health, I’m incredibly encouraged and excited about the opportunities for all patients through this collaboration.”

Sanford Health and Dr. Soon-Shiong’s related companies are collaborating in several ways to provide the highest quality cancer care, research and education. In February, Sanford Health became a founding member of the Cancer MoonShot 2020 Pediatrics Consortium. Sanford Health pediatric oncologist Sam Milanovich, M.D., is among the national experts using comprehensive cancer molecular diagnostic testing to study pediatric forms of cancer.

Earlier this month, Sanford Health expanded insurance coverage for its employees to include coverage of GPS Cancer, a unique comprehensive molecular test created by NantHealth Inc. to help oncology care providers guide treatment strategies for cancer care. Sanford Health’s participation will provide researchers with unique information about tumors and help them develop new treatment options.

About Cancer MoonShot 2020
The Cancer MoonShot 2020 program is one of the most comprehensive cancer collaborative initiative launched to date, seeking to accelerate the potential of combination immunotherapy as the next generation standard of care in cancer patients. This initiative aims to explore a new paradigm in cancer care by initiating randomized Phase II trials in patients at all stages of disease in 20 tumor types in 20,000 patients within the next 36 months. These findings will inform Phase III trials and the aspirational moonshot to develop an effective vaccine-based immunotherapy to combat cancer by 2020. For more information, please visit http://www.cancermoonshot2020.org and follow Cancer MoonShot 2020 on Twitter.

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 sanfordhealth.org.

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Tim Gerszewski
Sanford Health
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