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Top cancer researchers win Awards for Excellence

Toronto, ON – Five of Canada’s cancer scientists have received Awards for Excellence from the Canadian Cancer Society.

“These extraordinary scientists represent some of the best researchers in the country. They have played a key role in our understanding of cancer and in the advancement of cancer prevention and treatment. We applaud their significant achievements,” said Pamela Fralick, national president and CEO, Canadian Cancer Society. “Thanks to our generous donors we are able to support these researchers, and many others like them, in life-saving work.”

Dr Rama Khokha and Dr James T. Rutka are co-recipients of the Robert L. Noble prize, which is awarded for outstanding achievements in basic biomedical cancer research.

Dr Khokha, from the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, studies many aspects of our understanding of cancer – particularly cancers of the breast, liver, lung and bone. She has made discoveries about the impact of the hormone progesterone on breast cancer stem cells, which has helped researchers investigating breast cancer risk. Dr Rutka, from SickKids, is considered one of the leading research neurosurgeons in pediatric brain cancer worldwide, and has helped position Canada at the forefront of brain cancer research.

Dr Michael Taylor, a leading pediatric neurosurgeon and senior scientist at SickKids, received the William E. Rawls prize. This prize is given to a young investigator whose work has led to important advances in cancer control. Dr Taylor is interested in the molecular genetics and epigenetics of malignant childhood brain tumours.

“My research focuses on saving lives and improving the lives of children who face the most common childhood brain cancers,” said Dr Taylor. “I know how crucial it is to receive support from organizations like the Canadian Cancer Society in order to accelerate progress toward helping kids with cancer and their families, both across Canada and around the world.”

Another young investigator honoured at this year’s awards ceremony was Dr Russell Jones from McGill University. Dr Jones received the Bernard and Francine Dorval prize, which is awarded to a promising young investigator in biomedical sciences. Dr Jones is an emerging leader in the fields of immunology and cancer biology and is recognized for his leadership in the field of immuno-metabolism research.

Finally, Dr Laurence Klotz from Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre was the recipient of the O. Harold Warwick Prize, given to a scientist whose research has had a major impact on cancer control in Canada. Researchers from across the globe praise this leading urologic cancer surgeon and scientist for his transformative contributions to evidence-based treatment standards for prostate cancer.