Media Release: Queen’s research centre renamed Cara & Murray Sinclair Cancer Research Institute in recognition of transformational gift

Media Release: Queen’s research centre renamed Cara & Murray Sinclair Cancer Research Institute in recognition of transformational gift

June 10, 2024


Gift will build cancer research capacity, establish innovative new facilities, launch training programs, and improve care globally

Monday, June 10 – Kingston ON – Today, Queen’s University announced a transformational gift from Murray and Cara Sinclair to combat cancer by building cancer research capacity, establishing cutting-edge facilities, and launching new training opportunities. In recognition of the family’s $25-million gift, the Queen’s Cancer Research Institute will be renamed the Cara & Murray Sinclair Cancer Research Institute (SCRI). 

“Queen’s is grateful to the Sinclair family for their incredible generosity and support for cancer research,” said Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane. “Their gift will enhance the Cara & Murray Sinclair Cancer Research Institute’s ability to discover new potential treatments, test new drugs, and evaluate the impact that these treatments have on patients. It will also help develop highly skilled trainees who will be the next leaders in cancer research.” 

The Sinclairs’ gift will support two innovations that enable both new discoveries and therapies:  

  • A world-class imaging facility will allow researchers to understand the ways in which cancer cells manage to get past our immune system and resist treatments, and uncover new therapies for different cancer types; and
  • A specialized biomanufacturing facility with the ultimate goal of developing and manufacturing cell-based therapies – one of a handful of its kind in Canada and the first to have direct connection to comprehensive cancer trials expertise. 

“Queen’s takes a unique, collaborative approach to cancer research. It integrates multiple disciplines to solve problems in new ways, with a constant focus on better outcomes for patients,” the Sinclairs said. “Our family is proud to support the institute, and we hope that this gift inspires even more support for cancer research at Queen’s.” Murray Sinclair is a 1984 alumnus of Smith Commerce. 

The Cara & Murray Sinclair Cancer Research Institute is the only research centre in Canada that brings together experts from three key cancer disciplines: cancer biology and genetics, clinical trials (Canadian Cancer Trials Group), and cancer care and epidemiology. These experts work on cross-disciplinary teams that share knowledge, advance treatments available to patients, and evaluate the impact on patients. The international reach of the clinical trials division puts SCRI on the world stage for leading cancer research and drug development.  

Gift highlights: 

  • Immunotherapy advancements: A new imaging facility will provide a real-time view of the immune system interacting with cancer cells; this will expand immunotherapy research and lead to the discovery of new drugs and therapies. A new biomanufacturing facility will make personalized cellular immunotherapy treatments available to Canadian patients faster. Cellular immunotherapy harnesses the power of the body's own immune system to target and destroy cancer cells and is among the most promising new approaches to cancer treatment.   
  • Cancer training program: Supporting a new training program that enables students and early-career researchers to gain hands-on experience and mentorship in a multidisciplinary research environment. 
  • Cancer care and epidemiology: Enhancing the work of researchers who look at the value of new treatments by assessing the impact on patients and effectiveness of drugs.  
  • Innovation fund: A new funding competition to support collaboration and innovative team-based research. 

“From basic science research and testing new drugs in trials to assessing the value of treatments, this gift supports the institute’s approach to taking cancer research from labs all the way to patients, and back,” said Dr. Andrew Craig, Director of SCRI. “This gift has the potential to dramatically improve the way that we treat cancer.”  

About the Cara & Murray Sinclair Cancer Research Institute: 
A global leader in cancer research, SCRI takes a team science approach: tackling a cancer problem with several disciplines working together to accelerate the work and maximize impact. This interdisciplinary approach extends to the institute’s three main areas of research focus:  

  • Discovery: Research that looks for potential new drugs and therapies using basic science research and imaging to understand how the body responds to treatments.  
  • Trials: Testing potential drugs and therapies to look for those that could become part of regular treatment plans for specific cancers.
  • Value: Research that looks at whether certain types of treatment and care have value for the patient beyond incremental.    

About Queen’s University: 
Queen’s University is one of Canada’s leading universities with recognized academic achievement in the faculties and schools of business, engineering, medicine, law, arts and science and education. It offers a transformative student learning experience enriched by a research-intensive environment. Established in 1841, Queen’s is home to more than 31,000 full-time and part-time undergraduate and graduate students from all provinces and more than 100 countries around the world. In 2023, for the third year in a row, Queen’s University ranked in the top 10 globally in the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings, securing the position of third worldwide and first in North America. 

Media Contact:

Julie Brown 
Manager, Media Relations