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Brian Leyland-Jones MB BS, PhD to Lead Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Research


(Sioux Falls, SD & Fargo, ND) – After conducting an extensive national search for a physician-scientist to lead Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Research, Sanford Health has hired internationally renowned breast cancer researcher and clinician, Brian Leyland-Jones, MB BS, PhD, to lead this new breast cancer genomic research program and state-of-the-art breast cancer center.

Dr. Leyland-Jones is known for his leadership in the development of novel clinical trials and how genomics plays a pivotal part of advancing individualized cancer therapies in the fight against breast cancer. Dr. Leyland-Jones will play a vital role as director of Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Research and also as a senior scientist with Sanford Research.

He most recently served as the associate vice president and director of the Emory Winship Cancer Institute.

Before joining Emory in November 2006, Dr. Leyland-Jones was the Minda de Gunzberg Chair in Oncology and professor of medicine at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. Dr. Leyland-Jones holds biochemistry, medical and doctoral degrees from the University of London. Following residency training at Hammersmith, Brompton, St. Bartholomew’s and London hospitals, he completed a clinical pharmacology fellowship at Cornell University and a medical oncology fellowship at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. He then joined the academic staff at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and New York Hospitals with a special research interest in early clinical evaluation of new anti-cancer compounds. He has authored more than 150 peer-reviewed articles and book contributions, 200 abstracts and 34 patents.

“We live at a pivotal moment in cancer research, when the interface of deep genomic profiling and targeted therapies has the potential of transforming breast cancer,” said Dr. Leyland-Jones. “I am honored to join the outstanding Sanford team, and to leverage Denny Sanford’s extraordinary vision and gift with partners and colleagues around the globe, in utilizing genomic medicine to further both the prevention and cure of this devastating disease.”

The launch of Edith Sanford Breast Cancer followed a $100 million gift from Denny Sanford to accelerate the research and advances in care for women with breast cancer. “We believe we are at the dawn of a new era in breast cancer treatment and research,” says Kimberly Simpson Earle, president of the Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Foundation. A portion of this gift was used to establish a biobank to support the work of Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Research. The biobank is a repository for genetic information from women of all ages, medical histories and backgrounds. The vision is to create a genetic repository unlike anything available today for all breast cancer researchers in the U.S.  Researchers will use the collected samples to look for changes in DNA that are associated with certain types of breast cancer.

“We are so excited to welcome Dr. Leyland-Jones,” said Sanford Research President Eugene Hoyme, MD. “He’s an experienced leader with a national reputation in genomics, a passion for this cause and an extensive background that surpasses most.”  Colleague Kimberly Simpson Earle agrees, “As the Edith Sanford Breast Cancer movement continues to grow nationwide, Dr. Leyland-Jones’ knowledge, prestige and networking will prove an invaluable asset as we speed toward better treatments and ultimately the eradication of breast cancer.”

About Sanford Health

Sanford Health is the patient care and research partner of the Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Foundation, and the largest rural, not-for-profit health care system in the nation with locations in 112 communities, in seven states. In addition, this dynamic integrated health system is now developing international clinics in Ireland, Ghana, Israel and Mexico.

Sanford Health has been in service for more than 100 years and includes 35 hospitals, 140 clinic locations and nearly 1200 physicians in 70 specialty areas of medicine. With more than 25,000 employees, Sanford Health is the largest employer in North and South Dakota.