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$50M virtual cancer research institute honours Terry Fox

Toronto, ON – The Terry Fox Foundation today officially launched the Canada-wide Terry Fox Research Institute (TFRI), an initiative that offers a new model for cancer research — a virtual institute designed to overcome geographical and professional boundaries.

The institute will bring together clinical and scientific researchers from across the country, with nodes in several provinces. Currently there are nodes in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec. The foundation has committed a minimum of $50 million to fund the institute over five years, from donations collected at the 25th anniversary of the annual Marathon of Hope and from funds realized or anticipated since 2005.

In addition, the institute is receiving matching funds of $15 million from Ontario’s provincial government through the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research.

“Terry Fox had a way of giving Canadians a new fresh way to look at their country, the geography, the distances and the differences of people,” says Darrell Fox, national director of the Terry Fox Foundation. “He effectively transformed the distances between people by inviting them to focus on what could bring us together rather than divide us. Terry was able to close a gap and unite a nation around a common cause. In that same spirit, the Terry Fox Foundation is pleased to launch the institute which will bring together a national team dedicated to finding cancer cures.”

“This level of co-operation and collaboration is unprecedented,” says Dr Victor Ling, scientific director of TFRI. “Our vision at the Terry Fox Research Institute is to improve significantly the outcomes for the patient by having teams of academic and clinical researchers work in concert with one another sharing insights, knowledge and discoveries. The TFRI links hospitals, cancer organizations and universities provincially and nationally. The focus is to improve patient care by quickly moving the discoveries from the bench to clinical application.”

TFRI has solicited project ideas from researchers at its virtual nodes and is currently conducting reviews by an international team of cancer experts. It expects to announce its first funded projects within the next three months.

“The fight against cancer is a top priority of federal and provincial governments and has been identified as one of the four research priorities of the Fonds de la recherche en sante du Quebec,” said Dr Alain Beaudet, president and CEO of the FRSQ and co-chair of the National Alliance for Provincial Research Organizations. “The Terry Fox Research Institute initiative is unique in bridging disciplinary fields and regional silos. By bringing together the best talent in the country, it will go a long way in improving our understanding and treatment of this devastating condition.”

“We’re proud to support the launch of the Terry Fox Research Institute with matching funding of $15 million over five years through the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research,” said Ontario Premier and Minister of Research and Innovation, Dalton McGuinty. “The partnership will help move discoveries made in Ontario from lab to clinic sooner, which means a better quality of life, new opportunities and new hope for people living with cancer.”