Invest in

New cancer research holds the promise of important discoveries that can change practice, find new therapies, and potentially save lives. Without seed-funding, exciting new ideas can stall. In response to this, Tom Ehrlich and a group of volunteers began a program called Invest in Research. We need to keep asking new questions, in order to have answers for the patients of tomorrow.

Invest in Research donors support innovation by granting seed funding to the world's top cancer specialists at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. Your support helps find new answers to existing challenges and also ask new questions. As a donor, you help select the projects that move from proposal to real lab activity that could translate into new forms of care.

Fighting cancer at the molecular level.

Lung cancer has few treatment options, but thanks to Invest in Research, Dr. Brad Wouters is identifying the genetic alterations in lung cancer. Patients with tumours having specific genetic alterations can receive a highly effective form of ‘tailored’ treatment. The research has leveraged a new grant from the provincial government for an astounding $10 million.

Searching for Kidney Cancer Stem Cells.

Dr. Laurie Ailles used her Invest in Research grant to work on something that has never been done before: the identification of the special cells that initiate kidney cancer. The cells that researchers use in their tests do not sufficiently mimic the body’s environment, so Dr. Ailles created new cells that more closely resemble what happens in the body. This project is now testing different drugs on the these new cells with the aim of finding new treatment options.

Repurposing drugs.

Creating new drugs takes many years and costs millions of dollars. Dr. Aaron Schimmer has shortened that time to 2 years by taking already existing drugs and testing their effectiveness against cancer. The money Dr. Schimmer received from the Invest in Research grant was leveraged into an additional $1.6 million and resulted in three drug patents.

Revolutionary Lung Treatment

Traditional intravenous methods of treating lung cancer can be improved. Dr. Thomas Waddell and Dr. Marcelo Cypel used their grant to test the revolutionary idea of giving chemotherapy directly to lungs that are still in the body. Called in-vivo lung profusion, this project successfully demonstrated that their system works and they have been testing the effectiveness of different drugs. In 2015, they expect to begin first-in-human trials.


Dr. John Dick and Dr. Gordon Keller - Development of a novel system to generate human platelets from human iPSC Vision

Dr. Scott Bratman - Impact of distinct HPV subtypes on survival in oropharyngeal cancer


Dr. Aaron Schimmer - The mitochondrial proteasome as a new therapeutic target for Acute Myeloid Leukemia

Dr. Gang Zheng and Dr. Jon Irish - A novel PET agent for accurate and sensitive detection of tumours and lymph node metastases in head and neck cancer


Dr. Senthil K. Muthuswamy - An Alternatively Spliced Isoform of HER2 as a Potential Biomarker for Basal Type Breast Cancer and Response to Anti-HER2 Treatment

Dr. Catherine A. O'Brien - The Role of Intracellular Bacteria in Colorectal Cancer


Dr. Malcolm Moore and Dr. Steve Gallinger - Personalized Medicine for Patients with Pancreatic Cancer: The Introduction of Routine Screening for BRCA 1/2 and Other Germline Mutations Prior to Therapy

Dr. Jean Wang - Therapeutic Targeting of SIRPα -CD47 Interaction in AML

Support cutting-edge research by joining Invest Research For more information, please contact:

Malka Greene
Associate Campaign Director
The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation
Phone: 416-946-4668

Fiona MacAlpine
Senior Development Assosiate, Major Gift
The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation
Phone: 416-946-4501 ext 2452

Have input into cancer research

Invest in Research donors experience boardroom-style accountability, with a presentation by leaders from The Princess Margaret about projects under consideration. Each donor has a vote and helps choose the projects that are funded. At the end of the year, the grant recipients report on their outcomes.


Since 2007, Invest in Research has raised more than $1.6 million and helped leverage more than $30 million of additional funding for new discoveries. Twelve important projects have been supported and more projects are on the horizon. These projects are helping to lead the charge towards Personalized Cancer Medicine, which means improved care for cancer patients in the future.

Benefits of joining cancer research

Participating in Invest in Research has many benefits:

  • Learn about ground-breaking cancer research at one of the world’s top 5 cancer research centres.
  • Meet brilliant researchers who are on the forefront of scientific research.
  • Network with other visionary investors and with leaders from The Princess Margaret.
  • Recognition on The Princess Margaret’s main donor wall and in the annual Report to Our Donors.
  • Invitations to other events organized by The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation.