$30M gift to fast-forward health care research, education and care at McMaster University


[img_inline align=”right” src=”http://padnws01.mcmaster.ca/images/borisannouncement.jpg” caption=”Jackie Work and brother Les Boris are giving $30 million to McMaster. The funds will help establish the Boris Family Centre in Human Stem Cell Therapies, which will speed the commercial development of discoveries at the McMaster Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute. “]A Hamilton family is giving McMaster University $30 million to accelerate the
university's innovations in health research, education and care.

“McMaster University has proven its ability to fast forward discoveries from the lab
bench to the patients' bedside, it made perfect sense to make this investment in this
world class university,” said Les Boris, on behalf of his parents' Marta and Owen Boris
Foundation. His sister Jackie Work added: “The Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine
is ranked among the top 20 medical schools in the world. This is the best place to
commit to the future.”

The funding was announced in a ceremony at the University today.

Of the total, $24 million is designated to establish The Boris Family Centre in Human
Stem Cell Therapies, which will speed the commercial development of discoveries at the
McMaster Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute. The six-year-old institute has had
several major breakthroughs, including the ability to turn human skin into blood.

The funds will establish two senior research chairs, one in blood stem cells and the
other in neural stem cells; set up several fellowships and technician positions; build the
facility and provide a fund for emerging opportunities.

An additional $6 million is for a unique clinic which will allow patients with complex
health problems to see several specialists and have related tests during one visit.
Established in partnership with Hamilton Health Sciences, this patient-oriented clinic
will be built in the McMaster University Medical Centre in Hamilton and led by a senior
research chair.

The Marta and Owen Boris Foundation was established by Marta and Owen Boris who
created the Hamilton cable company Mountain Cablevision and developed it over 50
years before selling it to Shaw Communications in 2009. Owen Boris died in April, 2011.

“McMaster has been renewing its commitment to our community, and to have
community members make such a significant contribution to the University is truly
outstanding,” said Patrick Deane, president of McMaster. “Great research, great
discoveries, and better patient care. The Boris family gift will accelerate our ability to
make great things happen.”

Dr. John Kelton, dean and vice-president of the Faculty of Health Sciences, added: “This
is an innovative and action oriented family. They understand the great potential
McMaster has to make medical breakthroughs, and their willingness to place their bets
on McMaster is a tremendous vote of confidence in us.”

Mick Bhatia is scientific director of the McMaster Stem Cell and Cancer Research
Institute. He said: “In a short time we've become world renowned for our human stem
cell discoveries. Now is the time to move these discoveries to the patient.”

About the clinic for day patients, Dr. Akbar Panju, professor and deputy chair clinical of
the Department of Medicine, said the new format is unique in Canada and will put
patients first.

“Too often patients go from office to office to receive essential medical care from
several specialists. This clinic will ensure they will get everything they need in one
place,” he said, noting that the clinic will also be a centre of learning for health sciences
students and residents from many disciplines.