Cold Spring Harbor Lab will use the $750,000* to further cancer research for minorities and women
Advancements in healthcare appear to be limitless, however experts say the issue of equity in clinical trials for new drugs stubbornly remains, as many are brought to market based on research that exclude women and minorities.
As precision medicine becomes more prevalent, with therapies tailored to patients' genetic makeup, a better understanding of different populations' biological differences for drug testing must be the new norm.
That's why a New York laboratory is seeking ways to expand testing, particularly in the area of cancer drugs, and TD is joining them in this life-saving effort.
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in Long Island was one of four TD Bank 2019 Ready Challenge winners from the U.S., winning a grant of $750,000* that will be used in their cancer research for those traditionally underrepresented.
"What your gift is doing is allowing us to go deep on cancer," said Dr. David Tuveson, who lead the Cold Spring team that won The Ready Challenge. "Unfortunately, too many of us will get it, too many of our loved ones will get it."
Dr. Tuveson said the grant will go toward the lab's new organoid facility, where tests can be conducted on models of patients' cancer cells. Cold Spring will buy a special machine, so that testing won't have to be done by hand anymore.
"The organoid facility is a place where cancer patient tumors get turned into a model," he explained. "We grow them and test medicines against them as well."
Tuveson's team also researches certain populations and groups of people, and the types of cancers they get, which is a real "community" approach, he added.
"When we win, it’s really a reflection of the team," he added. "The team is great and cancer should be worried."
'Two world-class organizations' working together
As part of The Ready Commitment, TD Bank will donate a total of $1B CDN by 2030, focused in four areas: Better Health, Financial Security, Vibrant Planet and Connected Communities. The focus of TD's 2019 Ready Challenge has been to "increase equitable health outcomes for more people." There were over 378 submissions in 2019 for the 10 available grants in Canada and the U.S.
Andrew Bregenzer, TD Bank Regional President for Metro New York, said the Bank is beyond "thrilled to be a partner with this wonderful organization."
"The vision of this organization aligns perfectly with TD," he said. "Cold Spring has been a successful, inspiring organization for 130 years. With that, there have been breakthrough results and research, but there are still 600,000 deaths related to cancer on an annual basis. And that's 600,000 too many."
The win for Cold Spring was especially satisfying for Ed Travaglianti, TD's Market President for Long Island, who is not only a leader at the Bank, but has been on the lab's board for 18 years.
"[This] gives me the sense, bilaterally, of the greatness that can occur when you get two world-class organizations together," he said.
Travaglianti added he's proud to work for an organization, where "we really worry about the community."
"Literally with this grant, we are supporting the health and vitality of the community, particularly in the underserved population," he added. "And that's something that I think is just rewarding as a human being."
*All USD amounts represent an estimate based on the current foreign exchange rate from CDN.