Today, London Health Sciences Foundation (LHSF) is proud to announce a second $3 million gift from Archie and his late wife Irene Verspeeten, for a total of $6 million donated, in support of the Archie and Irene Verspeeten Clinical Genome Centre at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC). This is their second $3 million gift to LHSF, bringing their total donated to $6 million for the Clinical Genome Centre. This transformational gift will provide patients with access to advanced genetic testing, clinical trials and studies, which will ultimately provide the opportunity to explore additional treatment options otherwise unavailable for patients with genetically complex diseases.
“It is through philanthropic visionaries like Archie and Irene Verspeeten that change is possible, providing hope for a better future for patients with genetically complex diseases,” said John MacFarlane, president and CEO at LHSF. “The Archie and Irene Clinical Genome Centre has already had a profound impact on patients at LHSC, and with this transformational gift, it will continue to do so for years to come.”
The Verspeeten Clinical Genome Centre initially had a heightened focus on genomic sequencing for pancreatic cancer in conjunction with the Baker Centre for Pancreatic Cancer. However, with the generous $3 million gift from Archie and Irene, the team at the Verspeeten Clinical Genome Centre will further expand the genetic profiling offered to include other known biomarkers, as well as ramp up laboratory infrastructure and epigenomic testing capabilities.
“Through donor funding, we have been able to recruit a highly trained team of researchers and scientists who are pushing innovation forward,” said Dr. Bekim Sadikovic. “With the network we have created, and the work already completed in advanced data analysis, we’ve become a leader in epigenomic testing. We are truly on the cusp of something remarkable, which will completely redefine how we treat patients.”
Considering no two people are the same, understanding genetic differences is key to unlocking personalized treatment options and better patient outcomes. The expanded testing will provide an opportunity for patients with brain, hematologic, breast and ovarian cancers to have genomic sequencing completed and participate in clinical studies. This funding will also enable the highly-trained team at the Verspeeten Clinical Genome Centre to continue identifying new biomarkers to be used to analyze and treat future patients.
“As I was almost two years ago, I remain humbled by our ability to support a life-changing program like the Verspeeten Clinical Genome Centre,” said Archie Verspeeten. “I want nothing more than to wipe cancer out, and I believe this centre has already brought us one step closer to doing so. However, there is still much to do. My hope is for the Verspeeten Clinical Genome Centre to continue helping patients with genetic diseases live longer, fuller and happier lives.”
Launched in October 2020, the Archie and Irene Verspeeten Clinical Genome Centre is a first of its kind in Canada. This state-of-the-art genetic diagnostics centre has already influenced care by more accurately diagnosing patients, predicting the progress of their disease and providing highly-targeted and new treatment options otherwise unavailable. The Verspeeten Clinical Genome Centre has blended translational research and clinical practice for improved patient
care and to influence policy change.