Guzzo family donates $3 million to Jewish General Hospital
June 22, 2022
MONTREAL – The Jewish General Hospital (JGH) Foundation is pleased to announce that the Guzzo Family, represented by Vincenzo and Maria Guzzo (pictured), is making a transformational donation of $3 million to the hospital. This $3 million commitment will support several JGH priorities, particularly the hospital’s digital health initiatives.
As an early adopter of digital health innovations and a model for other hospitals in Quebec, the JGH has ambitious plans that require private-sector and government support over the next five years. Digital health initiatives are transforming the way the Hospital is delivering timely care to more patients in the safest, most appropriate and most comfortable setting, while maximizing efficiency.
These include projects such as the Hospital@Home program, a Command Centre, and OROT – a Connected Health Innovation Hub.
“I know first-hand about the difficulties the movie and restaurant industries have experienced over the past two years,” said Vincenzo Guzzo, president and CEO of Cinémas Guzzo. “As much as my sector suffered during the pandemic, the healthcare sector had it much worse. This reality fuels my motivation for making this additional commitment at this critical time of economic recovery.”
“I call on all leaders in the private sector to acknowledge how fragile our healthcare system is and join me in supporting hospitals and healthcare workers in the leaders’ areas,” added Guzzo.
“We are grateful to Vince Guzzo and his family for recognizing the enormous benefits that our digital health initiatives can bring to the well-being of our patients, now and in the future,” said Dr. Lawrence Rosenberg, president and CEO of CIUSSS West-Central Montreal. “Not only do these remarkable tools and programs allow us to continue making patients’ needs the focus of our attention, they frequently enable staff to take the time for the kind of compassionate, person-to-person contact that is vital to effective patient care.”
“More than ever, the COVID-19 pandemic hammered home the critical role that healthcare workers and hospitals play. But governments only do so much. This is why the Guzzo Family wanted to support the JGH with this major gift in support of digital health,” said Harvey Levenson, board chair of the JGH Foundation.
“We are extremely grateful to Vince and his family for their sustained support of the JGH and its Foundation, including this very substantial gift. Without private-sector leaders like Vince, we would not be the #1 ranked hospital in Quebec,” said Betty Elkaim, VP and chief development officer of the JGH Foundation.
CBC TV’s DRAGONS’ DEN judge, Vincenzo Guzzo is the president and CEO of Cinémas Guzzo, the largest independent operator in Quebec and the third-largest movie exhibitor in Canada. The chain has 145 screens: nine IMAX cinemas and 10 locations.
Well known for its movie and entertainment theatres, all Cinémas Guzzo locations were built by another Guzzo company, Groupe Guzzo Construction Inc., making it one of Quebec’s most successful general contracting outlets. In 2019, Guzzo expanded his operations and became a restaurateur. He owns two fine-dining Italian pizzerias and sells his pizza directly to consumers through LoveFoodToGo.com and at Cinemas Guzzo locations. He also pivoted into the retail food space with Good Pantry, Giulietta@Home, and Mr. Sunshine popcorn and chocolates.
The JGH, repeatedly ranked the #1 hospital in Quebec according to Newsweek (2019, 2020, 2021, 2022), is an acute and specialized care McGill University teaching hospital. The JGH has been serving a diverse patient population irrespective of religion, language, or ethnic background since it was founded in 1934.
The Hospital is home to the highest number of births in Quebec with a specialization in high-risk pregnancies and neonatal care; the busiest and most efficient Emergency Department in the province; the Segal Cancer Centre, which is recognized internationally for its ground-breaking cancer treatment and research achievements; and the Lady Davis Institute, one of the largest and most influential medical research centres in Canada. The JGH is the hub institution of the regional health authority known as the CIUSSS West-Central Montreal.
On a separate note, the Jewish General Hospital and Starpax Biopharma Inc. have completed construction of a new research laboratory that could be a game-changer in the field of cancer treatment.
The JGH will be the first hospital to experiment with Magnetodrones and PolarTrak technologies in a clinical setting.
“The Starpax project fits squarely into the overall strategy of CIUSSS West-Central Montreal to place an ever-increasing emphasis on using and actively developing new forms of technology to meet the needs of patients,” declared Dr. Rosenberg. “With the help of the government and our partners, we intend to apply all of our world-renowned expertise to easing the burden of cancer and its treatment.”
Starpax Biopharma Inc. has developed a novel Precision 3D Guidance Therapy of Magnetodrones in tumours. Magnetodrones are unique medication-bearing bacteria, developed by Starpax, that are sensitive to magnetic fields. They deliver the medication into the mass of the tumour, without allowing the medication to circulate in the bloodstream.
At the same time, the Magnetodrones saturate hypoxic areas where cancerous cells are difficult to reach with other treatments. Magnetodrones are injected directly into the tumour and are guided by the PolarTrak device, in which the patient is positioned. The PolarTrak prevents the Magnetodrones from leaving the tumour and guides them in 3D with special magnetic fields.
“Starpax is delighted to unveil this world first, the invention of a precision guidance therapy of Magnetodrones with the PolarTrak,” declared Michel Gareau, founding president of Starpax Biopharma. “This unprecedented multidisciplinary technology – with pre-clinical results demonstrating a remission rate of 100% without observed side effects – brings together 31 inventions in four scientific disciplines, including microbiology, biochemistry, electromagnetism and artificial intelligence. It propels cancer medicine into the future.”
“We are committed to bring this innovation to our patients here, but also eventually to patients everywhere in the world,” notes Dr. Gerald Batist, oncologist and director of the Segal Cancer Centre at the JGH. “Such an approach offers tremendous potential and could help us better treat many types of cancer. Innovation requires building bridges and then walking across them, as well as sharing knowledge, resources and the vision to create new hope and better outcomes.”
This new approach has the potential of reducing the toxicity of treatments compared to the current systemic use, which will lead to long-term savings for the healthcare system.
The Ministry of Economy and Innovation has granted funding of up to $7 million to implement the PolarTrak room. This funding will cover 80% of the cost of renovating the room and equipping it. The JGH Foundation contributed 20% of the funding for this project.