23 February 2017, London: The Victor Dahdaleh Foundation– the charitable organisation of Canadian entrepreneur and philanthropist Victor Dahdaleh has signed a formal agreement to donate £5 million to the British Lung Foundation to fund mesothelioma research in the UK. The donation, which matches government funding announced last year, was made official at a signing ceremony in the House of Lords today. It is the largest ever made to the BLF.
The funding will support the development of new treatments for the disease by a combined research team from the University of Leicester, Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in Cambridge, and the government-funded National Mesothelioma Research Centre at Imperial College in London.
Today’s ceremony was attended by a number of eminent peers and academics, including the sociologist Lord Giddens, entrepreneur Lord Borwick, and Professor Stephen Spiro – formerly head of respiratory medicine at UCLH.
Speaking at the ceremony, Victor Dahdaleh said the Foundation was confident that the team would be able to deliver tangible benefits for patients.
“We are delighted to be working in coordination with the British Lung Foundation, the UK Department of Health, and the research team to support the quest for new treatments for this terrible disease.
“The UK already has leading expertise in mesothelioma research, and we believe that by working together in this way we can do even more. The professionalism we have already seen from everyone involved has been second-to-none.”
In an additional move towards greater collaboration between research centres, the British Lung Foundation has formed a Mesothelioma Research Network, involving the programmes at Leicester, Papworth and Imperial together with other specialist mesothelioma centres across the UK.
Mesothelioma, a type of cancer commonly affecting the chest or abdomen, is on the rise in the UK, with 2,500 people dying from it each year. The disease is most closely associated with asbestos exposure and often kills with alarming speed.
Dr Penny Woods, chief executive of the British Lung Foundation, said:
“It is hugely exciting for all of us here to be officially marking the start of a new chapter in research into mesothelioma. Along with the government funding announced last year, this generous support from the Victor Dahdaleh Foundation will enable us to coordinate a network of highly skilled researchers and greatly increase the size and scope of clinical trials.
“We are also confident that this donation will prompt further funding and allow us to continue to expand the programme. We will not rest until we find a cure.”
The Victor Dahdaleh Foundation has a long history of supporting health-related causes around the world. In 2015, the organisation funded the Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health – a state-of-the-art research facility at York University in Toronto, Canada. Also in Canada, the Foundation last year financed neuro scientific research at McGill University in Montreal into diseases including multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s.
In the UK, the Foundation is a long-standing supporter of research into cardiovascular disease, and has backed a range of studies carried out by teams at Imperial College and Royal Brompton Hospital.
As well as healthcare, the Victor Dahdaleh Foundation promotes access to education by funding scholarships programmes that give young people from disadvantaged backgrounds the opportunity to study at top universities around the world.
Victor Dahdaleh is the owner and chairman of Dadco, a privately owned investment, manufacturing and trading group established in 1915. A lifelong champion of close ties between Canada and the UK, he served as president of the Canada-United Kingdom Chamber of Commerce from 2004 to 2009.
For more information on the Victor Dahdaleh Foundation, visit victordahdalehfoundation.com