Dec 10, 2018
On location in Sioux Falls, SD, Robin chats with two Sanford Health officials, Micah Aberson and Dr. David Pearce, and the winner of the inaugural Sanford Lorraine Cross Award. The $1 million award, which is donor driven, was created to reward those who have recently accomplished health care breakthroughs and to act as a catalyst to inspire the next generation to become “medical mavericks, “ according to Aberson, who serves as Sanford’s chief global brand officer, overseeing the planning, development, and execution of strategic marketing initiatives for the organization. Pearce, executive vice president of Innovation and Research for Sanford Health, notes that gene therapy will be a major weapon in combatting Batten’s disease and other rare diseases. The winners of the Sanford Lorraine Cross Award are Dr. Jean Bennett, the F.M. Kirby Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Pennsylvania, and Dr. Katherine High, president and head of research at Sparks Therapeutic. Their breakthrough, which is helping to restore the gift of sight for dozens of patients, was the result of a decades-long collaboration involving clinical trials and groundbreaking research. Bennett and High crossed the finish line to garner the first FDA approval for a gene therapy drug to cure a specific form of congenital retinal dystrophy.