Queen’s University is celebrating its largest-ever private donation for cancer research, described as “transformational” for research capacity, cutting-edge facilities and new training opportunities.

Alumnus Murray Sinclair has donated $25 million to the university’s cancer research institute, which will be renamed the Sinclair Cancer Research Institute.

Queen’s University, a leading cancer research facility in Canada, will now have enhanced resources to develop new treatments.

“We then discussed whether we should explore treatment or research and we settled on research to Queen’s – the cancer institute here is extremely highly regarded,” Sinclair explained.

“This gift will propel us to answer more research questions, test new potential treatments for patients faster, and hopefully identify the next big thing that will make an impact and help people live longer,” Dr. Annette Hay said of the donation.

The funds will also benefit families like Cathy and Dave Tidman. Cathy, who battled cancer five years ago, had to travel to Cleveland for treatment.

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“I remember crossing the border and being in tears,” Cathy recalled.

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“Cath had to have her cells removed and then you waited eight weeks for them to be put back in,” Dave Tidman said.

“But when you’re sick, and most of the cancers are quite aggressive … a lot of people won’t make it those eight weeks”

The $25-million donation will fund a new imaging facility to enhance immunotherapy research and drug discovery by providing real-time views of immune cells interacting with cancer. A biomanufacturing facility will expedite personalized cellular immunotherapy for Canadians.

Additionally, a cancer training program will offer hands-on experience and mentorship to students and early-career researchers, who will also evaluate the impact of new treatments on patients and drug effectiveness.

For Sinclair, who recently lost his brother to cancer, the donation is a beacon of hope.

“If they can come up with one more treatment method for one more form of cancer, it would have been a privilege to have given back,” he said.