Verspeeten family donates $3M to further innovation and treatment at LHSC’s Clinical Genome Centre

Archie and Irene Verspeeten Clinical Genome Centre at London Health Sciences Centre. Supplied by London Health Sciences Centre

Although the announcement was planned for some time, an additional donation of $3 million to help fight cancer is more poignant as Archie Verspeeten’s son Ron died from cancer Wednesday morning.

The second $3-million gift from Archie and his late wife Irene Verspeeten brings the couple’s total donations in support of the Archie and Irene Verspeeten Clinical Genome Centre at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) to $6 million.

This gift will provide patients with access to advanced genetic testing, clinical trials and studies, which will allow them to explore additional treatment options otherwise unavailable for patients with genetically complex diseases.

“Verspeeten Clinical Genome Centre at London Health Sciences Centre has already had a profound impact on the lives of patients at LHSc and on patient care throughout Ontario, the reality is the best is yet to come,” said John MacFarlane, president and CEO at London Health Sciences Foundation.

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“As research breakthroughs are discovered and new treatment options are explored the Verspeeten Clinical Genome Centre has the ability to completely redefine the standard of care and how patients are treated.”

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“Archie and Irene’s vision and passion to find a cure to end cancer is a driving force to make anything possible through the centre.”

Archie’s late wife Irene and two sons Alan and now Ron have all died from cancer, which has been the initial focus of Verspeeten Clinical Genome Centre in conjunction with the Baker Centre for Pancreatic Cancer.

“As I was almost two years ago, I continue to be humbled today that we are able to support a life-changing program like the Verspeeten Clinical Genome Centre,” said Archie Verspeeten. “My wife Irene and I know first hand the cost that can come from a cancer diagnosis. I wish for no family to endure such pain and no patient to endure such suffering.”

With this most recent gift, LHSC officials say they will be able to further expand the genetic profiling offered to include other known biomarkers, as well as ramp up laboratory infrastructure and epigenomic testing capabilities.

The Archie and Irene Verspeeten Clinical Genome Centre launched in October 2020 is a first of its kind in Canada, allowing doctors to more accurately diagnose patients based on their genes, predict the progress of their disease and provide new and highly targeted treatment options.

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“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.”

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