Women-led cancer research at Sanford earns ACS funding

Dr. Pilar de la Puente also is named an American Cancer Society ResearcHERS Scholar

Women-led cancer research at Sanford earns ACS funding

Pilar de la Puente, Ph.D. and her lab of researchers at Sanford Research recently received a $792,000 grant from the American Cancer Society. In addition, Dr. de la Puente was named an American Cancer Society ResearcHERS Scholar, a distinguished honor from the ACS recognizing trailblazing women researchers.

The focus of the lab’s four-year American Cancer Society ResearcHERS Scholar Grant is to study a novel set of biomarkers and their role in progression and drug resistance in ovarian cancer.

“We are thrilled to be awarded the first American Cancer Society Research Scholar Grant in South Dakota,” said Dr. de la Puente, associate scientist at Sanford Research. “We will be spending these next four years working on a novel biomarker panel for early detection in ovarian cancer and markers associated with chemotherapy resistance.”

The American Cancer Society ResearcHERS program said “women bring diverse and unique perspectives to cancer research, making invaluable contributions and discoveries. However, women are continuously underrepresented in research leadership. We want to change that.”

Research could help cancer patients everywhere

Researchers were chosen based on their innovation and potential for impact.

“The American Cancer Society has invested more than $5 billion in cancer research,” said Andy Link, American Cancer Society associate director for Cancer Centers in Nebraska, Iowa and the Dakotas. “This money goes to incredibly talented organizations and researchers who are doing cutting-edge medical research that will help patients across the country and potentially across the world.”

Dr. de la Puente’s lab focuses on the role of tumor microenvironment (TME) in cancer progression, drug resistance and cancer immunology. Her lab is also developing personalized 3D models of the tumor microenvironment in order to more accurately mimic cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions. Through these culture models, they hope to gain a deeper understanding of the role of the tumor microenvironment and their accessory cells during cancer progression, drug resistance and cancer immunology for each individual patient.

Dr. de la Puente received her Ph.D. at University of Salamanca in Spain in the field of biomedical engineering and biological sciences.

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Posted In Awards & Recognition, Cancer, Inclusion at Sanford, Research