Dr. Aaron Schimmer, the first practicing clinician scientist to be named Research Director of The Princess Margaret, says that philanthropy serves as the cornerstone for the growing world-class cancer centre.
“The tremendous support from our community allows us to find better treatments, better diagnostics and better care for our patients” he says, while reinforcing that all funds raised through programs like the Princess Margaret Home Lottery support the hundreds of scientists working around the clock to make new discoveries and provide critical infrastructure, including the state-of-the-art lab equipment.”
These ongoing philanthropic efforts in turn seed highly innovative ideas, giving many scientists the opportunity to try new and exciting areas of research, ultimately de-risking those areas for others in the future. Aaron says “The funds raised are the fuel that drives the engine. If we didn’t have The Foundation, we wouldn’t have world-leading research. Period.” He also explains that the investments made years ago in fundamental discovery research are still paying their dividends today, “the discoveries made here, are shared and built upon by scientists all across Canada and around the world.”
Dr. Schimmer continues to see many new treatments produce remissions and even get rid of cancers in patients that would have once been unfit for standard aggressive therapies. “our cancer patients are living longer, better lives than they were 10 years ago due to global collaboration and new, personalized treatment options. Science is a team sport and we will continue to move forward, together.”
Aaron and his team recruit internationally and bring in the best in the world to Toronto. “Due to the scientific breadth and depth of The Princess Margaret and its many surrounding institutions, this is a place where people know they are going to make a difference” he says, while also admitting that as great as we are doing, we still have work to do. “We will continue to ask questions in unchartered territories. We will not stop until we eradicate this disease.”