The National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health is giving Dakotas-based Sanford Health more than $7.1 million over five years for cancer research.
The money will be used to recruit participants for clinical trials, quality-of-life studies and research on the delivery of cancer care, Sanford said in a statement.
The grant was among 53 awarded nationwide through the institute's $93 million Community Oncology Research Program. Sanford Health is the only program participant in the Dakotas and Nebraska.
"Advances in cancer care make this the appropriate time to expand the outreach of clinical trials to community-based facilities, which is where most people access care," said David Pearce, vice president and chief operating officer for Sanford Research.
"Sanford emerged as an ideal selection for (the program) because of our history of success in recruiting patients for clinical trials, infrastructure and physician volumes already in place to support an advanced cancer program, and a research team capable and ready to contribute to research bases for the implementation of these trials," Pearce said.
Sanford Health bills itself as the nation's largest, rural not-for-profit health care system, with locations in 126 communities in nine states. The network includes 39 hospitals, 140 clinics, 1,360 doctors in 81 specialty areas of medicine, and more than 26,000 employees.
Sanford is based in Fargo, North Dakota, where it operates the Roger Maris Cancer Center, and in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where it is building a multimillion-dollar breast cancer facility. The facility was part of a 2011 announcement in which philanthropist T. Denny Sanford pledged to give the health system bearing his name $100 million to find a cure for breast cancer. His mother, Edith, died of the disease when he was 4 years old.