The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation has received a $50-million pledge, a sum the Toronto-based charity hails as the biggest-ever private gift to cancer research in Canadian history.

The $50-million donation, to be paid over the course of ten years, was made by Emanuelle Gattuso and her husband, broadcasting pioneer Allan Slaight.

Gattuso, a 10-year cancer survivor, said the donation bears a strong personal commitment, as the disease has touched her life as well as the lives of so many friends and relatives.

"Allan and I are extremely pleased to be able to support The Princess Margaret's Billion Dollar Challenge for Personalized Cancer Medicine and hope others will join us. We believe in The Princess Margaret's vision to conquer cancer in our lifetime," Gattuso said in a statement.

According to the PMCF, the money will seed a Personalized Cancer Medicine "superfund" aimed at attracting the world's top cancer scientists and doctors to dedicated research teams.

"This unprecedented 'superfund' allows us to build and support research teams focused on precision genomics, advanced tumour biology, immune therapy and molecular imaging," Princess Margaret Cancer Centre Research Director Dr. Benjamin Neel said.

In total, The Princess Margaret says it has received in excess of $72 million in donations from Gattuso, Slaight and the Slaight family, including more than $22 million in 2009 that went toward the creation of the Gattuso Rapid Diagnostic Centre.

The PMCF is in the midst of a "Billion Dollar challenge" launched last April. So far, it has raised $243 million through grants and donations.