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Message from Cancer Centre Leaders

To lead in any field comes with the  requirement to be a ‘change agent.’ As  we pursue our plans to lead the way  in Personalized Cancer Medicine, our team  is embracing change in every area of patient  care, and our scientific research team has built  strength in important new areas including  epigenetics, immune therapy, computational  biology and clinical genomics.
 
The way in which our physicians diagnose cancer is undergoing a major transformation  as we integrate new technology that allows  us to sequence and study the DNA of  each patient’s tumour. This will allow us to  distinguish a lung tumour that responds to a  particular drug from one that won’t. 
 
Another challenge is the reporting and presentation of this genomic information in a  way that enables our physicians to understand  it clearly, explain it to their patients, and use  the information to select the best available  treatment. 
Our radiation medicine team is preparing to  implement adaptive radiation therapy, where  a patient is evaluated during their course  of treatment, and their plan is fine-tuned as  they respond to their personalized treatment.  We are exploiting our strong proficiency  with imaging technology to find ways to  incorporate this re-planning in ways that are  efficient and affordable for our medical system.
 
While our teams for each of the established  treatment modalities—surgery, radiation  and targeted drug therapy—maintain their  global leadership and ensure their expertise is  shared across the country and the world, we  are introducing a new treatment modality - cellular immune therapy. The possibility of  training our immune system to recognize and  eradicate tumour cells is being tested today at  Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, and we have  a strong team of scientists and clinicians that  will enable us to lead in this area as well.
 
Your philanthropic support is also enabling us  to innovate in two other areas very important  to cancer patients and survivors—psychosocial  support and palliative care. Without hospice  and palliative care provided by trained  specialists, people living with cancer can suffer  severe pain and avoidable distress. We plan to  extend our expertise in this area to other parts of the world by leading a Global Institute for  Psychosocial, Palliative and End-of-Life Care in  partnership with the University of Toronto. 
 
Our team is empowered by the opportunity  to propose and evaluate change that can  lead to a better understanding of cancer and  better patient care. Constant re-inventing and  upgrading is required to conquer cancer in  our lifetime, and we thank you for helping to  fund these major enhancements through your  support of the BILLION DOLLAR CHALLENGE.  

Dr. Benjamin Neel
Research Director
Princess Margaret Cancer Centre/UHN
 
Dr. Mary Gospodarowicz
Medical Director
Princess Margaret Cancer Centre/UHN