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  • Avera McKennan Welcomes New Applied Genetics Team

Published on January 10, 2014

Avera McKennan Welcomes New Applied Genetics Team


SIOUX FALLS (Jan. 10, 2014) – Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center announces the addition of an applied genetics team that will specialize in scientific and medical aspects of breast cancer.

This team of 13 individuals, led by Dr. Brian Leyland-Jones, will join the Avera Institute for Human Genetics and Avera Cancer Institute. They come to Avera from Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Research, and previously served at the Winship Cancer Institute at Emory University in Atlanta, Ga.

“Their background and experience are tremendous additions to our outstanding cancer program, which has been a leader in this region for 30 years,” said Dr. Dave Kapaska, Regional President and CEO of Avera McKennan. “What a wonderful enhancement to the world-class cancer care at Avera McKennan.”

Dr. Leyland-Jones is both a research scientist and clinician, specializing in breast cancer. His team works both at the research bench and the patient bedside to bring personalized cancer therapies to patients, based on their individual genetic profile.

In collaboration with Avera cancer specialists, Dr. Leyland-Jones and team specifically will work with patients who have cancer that is resistant to common treatment protocols, or cancer that has recurred. While the team specializes in breast cancer, they will accept referrals for patients with other types of cancer who can benefit from personalized therapy.

“We as a team felt a connection to Avera’s mission and culture, and we also love working in the community of Sioux Falls. We appreciate the steps Avera is taking in the realm of personalized medicine, and we know that we can do significant work here. Ultimately, it’s about the patient. We want to help patients, and we feel Avera McKennan is a place where we can impact many lives,” Dr. Leyland-Jones said.

Avera recently launched an initiative to use personalized medicine in pain management for patients having elective orthopedic surgery. “The expertise of this team will help Avera McKennan to expand personalized medicine into the realm of cancer care,” Dr. Kapaska said. “Genetics and personalized medicine represent the future of medicine, and we’re only beginning to scratch the surface of the potential that is waiting to be discovered.”