The Gerald C. Baines Foundation is urging Londoners to match the $1.5-million it is committing to help expand a local cancer research centre.
The foundation announced the funding commitment Tuesday, in hopes of generating a total of $3-million to expand the Gerald C. Baines Centre for Translational Cancer Research, which is part of the Lawson Victoria Research Laboratory.
Dr. David Palma tells AM980 the centre is unique in that it has physicians and researchers working together and sharing ideas.
“What they’ve tried to do is break down those barriers by locating everybody together so you can’t help but work together all the time. We get this cross-pollination of ideas. When the Baines family came forward with an idea of another donation, of course we were extremely ecstatic!”
Dr. Palma is a Radiation Oncologist and Clinician Scientist who has firsthand knowledge of the success of the Baines Centre for Translational Cancer Research. In partnership with imaging scientist Dr. Aaron Ward in 2011, they used $15,000 in seed funding to establish a new research program aimed at developing imaging technology to help better determine the best option for treating lung cancer patients. The success of the initial results led to additional funding of $1-million through other funding agencies.
“One of the advantages of the Baines Centre, is that many of the physicians who are associated with it and do the research have specific time set aside and we have a group whose job it is only to run clinical trials,” says Dr. David Palma.
“Our goal is to expand that and to offer more treatments for our patients. What these trials mean is that if we have an innovative approach that ends up working, the patients who are in London who are on these trials can be among the first to get that new treatment.”
The London Health Sciences Foundation is hoping Londoners come out in a big way.
“Typically Londoners respond to challenges, especially challenges of this nature,” says President and CEO of the London Health Sciences Foundation, John MacFarlane.
“We’re pretty confident we’re going to make that $3-million and hopefully even blow past that goal over the next year or so.”
As for the Gerald C. Baines Foundation, chair and son of the founder Kirk Baines says the foundation is simply doing its part to improve the lives of cancer patients.
“There’s so much passion within this hospital as a whole, but just these guys specifically, they want to make things better, genuinely. They’ve got the capabilities to do it, we just need to invest some money in them – it’s as simple as that,” says Kirk Baines.
“My dad’s motivation is that he saw the treatment here, he recognized and knew it could be better, and he set us out to try and make that happen.”
With files from Natalie Lovie.