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Message from The Cancer Centre Leaders

Our ‘B2C’ is ‘Bench to Clinic’

As Canada’s largest cancer research centre, we are mandated to raise the standard of care for cancer patients at The Princess Margaret, across the country and around the world. We use the phrase ‘bench to clinic’ frequently which reflects our job to translate scientific discoveries and new understanding of cancer from our laboratories into improved therapies and improved outcomes for our patients.

Our track record of fruitful collaboration between scientists and clinicians goes back to our earliest days when a biophysicist and a physician—well known today as Till & McCulloch—identified stem cells for the first time. Today, stem cell transplants save the lives of hundreds of Canadians with blood diseases like leukemia and lymphoma each year, and they represent great promise in rehabilitation and regenerative medicine.

Our 60-year history is rich with other important discoveries and innovation that have benefited cancer patients—breast lumpectomy, discovery of the T-cell, image-guided radiation, breast density as a risk factor and identifying genetic signatures that are prognostic indicators for therapy.  Today we are proud of how Dr. Tak Mak’s identification of the T-cell has enabled us to build a strong team that is now  testing new approaches to adapting and boosting the immune system to fight cancer.

Clinicians and scientists at The Princess Margaret collaborate widely with others around the world, and hold contracts with the U.S. National Cancer Institute and other organizations to test promising new cancer drugs and new technologies.  We are often the first centre to provide the needed evidence that a new drug or procedure is more effective (or not) than the current standard of care for a specific type of cancer.  One out of five patients at The Princess Margaret participates in one of our 700+ clinical trials.

The work that lies ahead in the next several decades will require continued collaboration beyond the walls of our own cancer centre.  Massive tasks such as zeroing in on the genetic drivers of individual cancers and understanding their importance for personalized medicine requires sharing information and productive collaboration across institutions.  We are fortunate that our reputation as one of the top 5 cancer research centres in the world allows us to establish the academic and industry relationships needed to advance our scientific and clinical research more quickly.

We’re extremely pleased to co-lead an organization where a culture of collaboration is thriving and where we can see the benefit to our patients. We want to speed up our pace of progress, and we are only able to do so thanks to the generosity of our donors.  We are grateful for your support and your trust in the important work we are doing.
Dr. Bradly Wouters      
Research Director (Interim)   
Princess Margaret Cancer Centre
  Dr. Mary Gospodarowicz
Medical Director
Princess Margaret Cancer Centre