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Focal Centers

Hubs for clinical translation

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

Cancer Center

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

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Parkinson's Disease Center

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.

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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 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.

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.

Epigenetic Therapies SPORE Collaboration

The Epigenetics Therapies SPORE (Specialized Program of Research Excellence) is a National Cancer Institute-funded collaboration of nearly 20 scientists who seek to improve cancer therapies.

West Michigan Neurodegenerative Diseases (MiND) Program

The MiND program is home to collaborative sample collection and genetic sequencing efforts. The data garnered from these efforts will be used to seek out genetic changes that may play roles in diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

Metabolism and Nutritional Programming in Disease (MeNu) Program

The MeNu program seeks to rapidly expand VAI’s metabolism research capabilities, giving our scientists the tools they need to investigate metabolism in health and disease.