SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – This weekend, the Stand Up to Cancer telethon will air on CBS, along with the other major news networks, in an effort to raise money for cancer research. And there is plenty of that research going on right here in South Dakota.
Cancer research has come a long way in recent years.
“The past few decades we’ve been really good at expanding the type of data we can get,” Dr. Michael Kareta, an associate scientist at Sanford Health, said.
At Sanford Health, researchers have focused on many cancer-related areas, including how our own bodies can fight the disease through immunotherapies.
“Cancer arises from your own body and your immune system, by and large, is taught don’t attack your own body,” Kareta said. “But there are ways and new therapies, we’re actually training cancer, or sorry, training the immune system to recognize cancer and essentially use the built in defense mechanisms that our own bodies already have.”
They’re also learning how treatments can be tailored for a specific patient.
“Cancer, by and large, arises from mutations of the DNA,” Kareta said. “And because of that, each person’s cancer is going to be a little different. So the way we treat each person’s cancer can’t just be turnkey. To really help people, we really need to understand what makes this person’s cancer unique.”
Dr. Michael Kareta, an associate scientist at Sanford Health, wants cancer patients to know that hope is out there.
“I’m an eternal optimist,” Kareta said. “Are we going to keep on moving forward? Yes. We’re certainly driven to keep moving forward. I just say, keep up hope. We’re going to be doing everything we can.”
The Stand Up to Cancer telethon is this Saturday night at 7 o’clock central time.