Posted on Oct 02, 2017
David A. Pearce, PhD, is Executive Vice President of Innovation and Research for Sanford Health.  He completed his undergraduate Bachelor of Science Degree with honors in biological sciences at Wolverhampton Polytechnic in 1986.  He gained his PhD in 1990 at the University of Bath, UK, and did postdoctoral training at the University of Rochester, U.S., and Oxford University, UK.
Dr. Pearce heads the leading lab in Juvenile Batten disease research.  He has been researching Juvenile Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis (Batten disease) since 1997.  His research has led to the first clinical trial for Juvenile Batten disease.  He has published over 100 research papers on Batten disease. He also oversees a national registry for rare diseases known as the Coordination of Rare Diseases at Sanford (CoRDS).   He has served on numerous NIH review committees, has organized rare disease workshops for the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) arm of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and is currently a member of the executive committee for the International Rare Diseases Research Consortium (IRDiRC).

In his role as Executive Vice President of Innovation and Research at Sanford he is responsible for overseeing the development of research programs across Sanford’s nine-state footprint, including more than 450 researchers, eight research centers and more than 300 ongoing clinical trials.  With this, he is also responsible for commercialization of select research strategies, as well as integrating Sanford Research operations into Sanford Health International Clinics. Driven by Dr. Pearce’s passion for developing patient-centered, impactful research programs Sanford Research is uniquely positioned to provide translational research that can bring important discoveries from bench to bedside, improving the quality of care. 


Program Highlights for October 2, 2017


Dr. Pearce stated that current Sanford Health research sites include Sioux Falls, Fargo, Bemidji, Bismarck, and Rapid City.  Sanford dedicates $36.2 million in annual research expenditures.  Dr. Pearce believes "The world is on the cusp of the next generation of treatments and cures, and Sanford Health is at the forefront of this pursuit."  


A life without lifelong insulin.  A possibility for Type 1 Diabetics--Sanford Project T-Rex Study Clinical Trial:


Curing Type 1 diabetes is at the forefront of the Sanford research mission.  A person with Type 1 diabetes has an immune system that is out of balance. The goal through regeneration of the person's own stem cells is to cure the person of diabetes.  This FDA approved study was initiated in collaboration with Caladrius Biosciences, Inc.  


What would you do if you knew your child was going to die of a debilitating neurologic disease? -- Gene Therapy for Batten Disease:


Batten disease is a neurological defect.  250 children in the United States currently live with this disease.  This is another FDA approved study from Sanford and 6 children have participated in this study as of date.  Amazing results have been reported for those that have participated.


Legitimize the Use of Stem Cell Therapies:


Dr. Pearce stated that stem cell therapy is the "future of medicine by creating a cure within."  Stem cell therapy is regenerative medicine where they only use a person's own stem cells, similar to bone marrow therapy.  There are no fetal or embryonic stem cells used in any of Sanford Health clinical trials. Eighteen patients in Fargo and Sioux Falls have participated in this FDA trial.  Sanford is the first FDA study in the United States focusing on adult orthopedic medicine.  


What if Cancer could be managed as a chronic disease? --Cancer Breakthrough 2020:


Dr. Pearce stated that four months ago Sanford began an FDA clinical trial focusing on the HER2 vaccine to destroy cancer.  Sanford Health was the first in the nation to offer a clinical trial as part of Cancer Breakthrough 2020.  Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Center enrolled the first patient nationwide in Immunotherapy trial for Breast Cancer.  


Program for October 9, 2017


Trisha Dohn, 365Well