Gene therapy pioneers win $1 million Sanford Lorraine Cross Award

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KSFY) - Two women with a vision to make the blind see are the recipients of the first ever Sanford Lorraine Cross award.

Doctors Jean Bennett and Katherine High received the $1 million prize Wednesday morning at Sanford Health.

They were selected out of four finalists by the Sanford International Board.

The two doctors developed a gene therapy that reverses a form of blindness.

"Right now we're living in the age of genomic medicine," Jill Weimer with Sanford Research said. "We know that what encodes our genes now, those are turned into proteins, and so now the big tackle is how do we actually correct those genetic mutations."

Once the doctors pioneered the therapy, they took it through clinical trials and then received FDA approval.