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A Brain Tumor Bank for the UofT

Dan Family
Amira and Michael Dan

The Department of Surgery has received an unprecedented $2 million gift to establish a Brain Tumour Bank! Thanks to the generosity and leadership of Michael and Amira Dan, longtime U of T supporters, the University of Toronto Brain Tumour Bank network will enable researchers in our health sciences community to make more rapid progress towards effective treatment for people with brain cancer - progress that will prolong and save tens of thousands of lives in Canada and around the world.

The Department of Surgery shares Michael’s commitment to addressing the urgent need for progress in the fight against brain cancer. With the establishment of a Brain Tumour Bank - a permanent resource for researchers and clinicians - we will speed discovery and improve treatment, saving lives.

The number of cases of brain cancer treated at Uof T-affiliated hospitals represents an unparalleled opportunity to collect and study tissue samples. The volume of tumour specimens available to Toronto researchers through a single medical school and university exceeds that in other large cities where samples are divided among several schools and institutions.

As you know, we are in an era of advances in genomics, proteomics, diagnostic technologies, surgical techniques and pharmacology, leading toward personalized therapies. The rapid and precise characterization of patient tumour tissue samples and individual patient tumour cells will soon be the new standard of diagnosis. Treatment plans based on this characterization will define the standard of care. With a vision of personalized molecular diagnosis and drug screening of every patient’s tumour, based on systematic banking and analysis, the U of T Brain Tumour Bank network will be a momentous step in the development of these personalized therapies for brain cancer.

A philanthropist and active supporter of initiatives in global and aboriginal health, as well as neurosurgery, Michael holds a medical degree from U of T, a PhD in experimental medicine from McGill and an MBA from Louisiana’s Tulane University. After five years as an assistant professor of neurosurgery at Louisiana State University, he became the CEO of Novopharm Biotech Inc., a publicly-traded drug discovery company. Today, Michael is president of Gemini Power Corporation, a private hydroelectric power generating business focused on Canada’s First Nations. Amira holds an MA from OISE at U of T, a PhD in social and political thought from York University, and is a supporter of the faculty of humanities at the University of Haifa, Israel.

Darina Landa, Senior Development Officer, University of Toronto

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