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Cancer research institute founded with $37.5M gift


Toronto, ON – A new research institute is being created at the Princess Margaret Hospital with funding of $37.5 million donated by the Campbell family. The new institute will be named the Campbell Family Cancer Research Institute (CFCRI) in their honour.

Dr Benjamin Neel, currently the director of the Ontario Cancer Institute (OCI), will also be the director of the Campbell Family Cancer Research Institute. Dr Neel was recruited from the Harvard Medical School to lead Princess Margaret’s cancer research in 2006.

The creation of the new institute enables OCI to advance research into targeting discoveries to develop potential cures for many kinds cancer, said Dr Neel. “I was attracted to Canada and to the Princess Margaret in particular, because of the unique combination of basic, translational and clinical research that makes it one of the top five cancer research centres in the world,” he added.

Research at the hospital builds on a legacy of landmark science that includes Drs James Till and Ernest McCulloch’s discovery of the stem cell and Dr Tak Mak’s cloning of the T-cell receptor. More recent discoveries include Dr Norman Boyd’s discovery of breast density as a risk factor for breast cancer and Dr John Dick’s discovery of the colon cancer stem cell.

The new institute will accelerate the pace of breakthrough cancer research, facilitating the translation of cancer discoveries into new life-saving therapies and more personalized cancer treatments for each patient. The family’s previous gift of $25 million in 2004 established the Campbell Family Institute for Breast Cancer Research (CFIBCR). Dr Tak Mak leads the CFIBCR and will work closely with Dr Neel to ensure full integration of cancer research activities.

While breast cancer will remain a major focus at the Campbell Family Cancer Research Institute, funding for the new institute will support a high content tumour bank, a state-of-the-art Advanced Molecular Profiling Lab (AMPL) and cancer research in tumour metabolism, cancer stem cells, cancer genomics, proteomics, informatics and guided therapeutics.

Hospital representatives say that further details about the institute’s lab facilities, timeline for opening and staffing plans have not yet been finalized.

The Campbell family’s support over the course of their association with the hospital now totals $67.5 million, representing the largest cumulative private gift to cancer research in Canada.

“The Campbell family’s support of cancer research at Princess Margaret Hospital is inspirational and transformative,” said Dr Robert Bell, president and CEO of University Health Network, which includes Princess Margaret Hospital, Toronto General Hospital and Toronto Western Hospital.