The University of Toronto Mississauga is establishing an interdisciplinary centre for the development of new drugs targeting cancer and other diseases, thanks to a $7-million donation from Mississauga-based Orlando Corporation.
The focus of the new Centre for Medicinal Chemistry will be to create compounds that are purpose-built to interrupt specific biochemical processes in the body while avoiding harm to normal cellular functions. Researchers at the centre will include UTM’s Patrick Gunning and four new principal investigators who will partner in medicinal chemistry, computational chemistry, cancer biology and stem cell biology.
In the past five years, Gunning and his team have advanced four potential new drugs into the final stage of testing and analysis before clinical trials. The great promise of the centre lies in bringing together scientists from complementary areas of chemical and biological research under one roof – to reduce the time and cost of developing these compounds. The hoped-for result will be a much larger pipeline of molecules to fight many forms of cancer and other diseases. Gunning lost a grandmother to cancer; he knows that patients and their families need better treatments as soon as possible.
Gunning’s lab employs more than 30 people. With the launch of the centre he plans to add several positions. Each of the other principal investigators will also have their own labs, creating a truly interdisciplinary effort with about 100 people. “Through this gift, says Gunning, “we have a unique opportunity to develop life-saving drugs.
U of T’s 196th Birthday Quiz
Test your knowledge of all things U of T in honour of the university’s 196th anniversary on March 15!
Spreading the Gospel
A Juno Award-winning teacher wants all his students to feel there is a place for them in music
Cities Are Driving Evolution
Globally crowdsourced study shows that white clovers are biologically adapting to city life, demonstrating the profound impact of urbanization