Focal Centers

Van Andel Institute’s Focal Centers in cancer and Parkinson’s are hubs for translating groundbreaking discoveries into clinical trials. Established in 2020, the VAI Cancer Center and VAI Parkinson’s Disease Center provide a support and infrastructure for scientists to develop and implement translational cancer and Parkinson’s disease projects in Grand Rapids and beyond, both in the lab and the clinic.

In the coming years, we expect the number of projects supported by Centers to grow, multiplying the Institute’s impact in cancer and Parkinson’s — diseases that affect millions of people around the world.

Cancer Center

Center Director: Peter A. Jones, Ph.D., D.Sc. (hon)

The Cancer Center supports projects and clinical trials in several different types of cancer in partnership with organizations in the U.S. and abroad.

  • Van Andel Institute–Stand Up To Cancer Epigenetics Dream Team: Finding the cancer therapies of tomorrow requires visionary thinking and innovative research today. The Van Andel Institute–Stand Up To Cancer (VAI–SU2C) Epigenetics Dream Team fosters collaboration between several of the world’s most respected research and clinical organizations in an effort to quickly move promising potential therapies into clinical trials.

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Parkinson’s Disease Center

Center Director: Patrik Brundin, M.D., Ph.D.

The goal of the Parkinson’s Disease Center is to support projects and clinical trials that investigate potential therapies to slow or stop Parkinson’s progression — a feat not possible with existing treatments.

  • International Linked Clinical Trials: Since 2012, VAI has partnered with Cure Parkinson’s to support clinical trials of medications developed to treat other diseases that also show potential for impeding Parkinson’s progression.

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