Exceptional contributions to cancer research recognized at Cancer Research Conference Awards

TORONTO, Oct. 28, 2013 /CNW/ - The Canadian Cancer Research Alliance (CCRA) announced today the recipients of its biennial awards which recognize significant contributions to cancer research in Canada

Dr. Victor Ling receives the award for Exceptional Leadership in Cancer Research for his outstanding contributions to the leadership of cancer research, including his role as the visionary inaugural leader of the Terry Fox Research Institute and his contribution to the development of a Canadian strategy for cancer control which ultimately led to the formation of the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer.

Dr. John E. Dick receives the award for Outstanding Achievements in Cancer Research for his seminal research and leadership in the field of stem cell research, including his role in providing the first proof that cancer stem cells are not created equally.

Mr. Bob McDonald receives the award for Distinguished Service to Cancer Research for his dedication to science education and communication through radio as a broadcaster and author.

"These awards are our way to acknowledge the exceptional contributions made by these individuals," says Dr. Christine Williams, Co-Chair of the CCRA. "We are proud to highlight their achievements and the impact they have had on cancer research and the cancer research community."

The awards will be presented during the CCRA's Canadian Cancer Research Conference held in Toronto from November 3-6, 2013. For more information, please visit http://www.ccra-acrc.ca

Dr. Victor Ling, Vancouver, BC: Dr. Ling is the founding President and Scientific Director of the Canada-wide Terry Fox Research Institute, an Institute that involves more than 50 cancer research institutes, hospitals, and universities across Canada (http://www.tfri.ca). He is a Distinguished Scientist at the BC Cancer Agency (BCCA), Professor of Pathology, and Professor of Biochemistry at the University of British Columbia (UBC). He served previously as Vice President of Discovery Research at the BCCA and Assistant Dean at UBC. In that capacity he was instrumental in launching in 1998 the Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre in Vancouver that was the first to decode the SARS virus, and leading the initiative to - construct- the new BC Cancer Research Centre - in 2005 that currently is home to over 650 research staff including over 200 trainees. He served on many national and international boards and committees for cancer research. Notably, he chaired the working group that produced the "Ling report" on cancer research for the Canadian Strategy for Cancer Control (CSCC). CSCC ultimately led to the formation of the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer.

As a scientist at the Ontario Cancer Institute, Dr. Ling - discovered - the P-glycoprotein (named MDR) associated with multiple drug resistance in cancer, the sister of P-glycoprotein (named BSEP), the bile acid transporter in liver, and the super family of ABC transporters.

Dr. John E. Dick, Toronto, ON: Dr. Dick is a Senior Scientist at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and the McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine of the University Health Network and Professor of Molecular Genetics at the University of Toronto. Dr. Dick is also Director of the Program in Cancer Stem Cells at the Ontario Institute of Cancer Research (OICR).

Dr. Dick's research has revolutionized the study of normal and leukemic human stem cells. Two of the most important achievements were developing a system for transplanting normal and malignant human hematopoietic cells into immune-deficient mice; and using this method to identify and characterize both normal and leukemic human stem cells. His lab established that only a small proportion of human leukemic cells were capable of initiating human leukemia within the immune-deficient mice. Purifying these leukemia-initiating cells provided direct evidence for the cancer stem cell hypothesis.

Dr. Dick has achieved groundbreaking findings in the areas of hematopoiesis and cancer. Through his work, he has pioneered the field of cancer stem cell biology, transformed our views of the origin and nature of cancer, and laid the foundation for new approaches to cancer therapy.

Mr. Bob McDonald, Victoria, BC: One of Canada's best known science journalists, Mr. McDonald has been presenting the Quirks and Quarks program since 1992. Mr. McDonald is also a regular science commentator on the CBC News Network, and science correspondent for CBC TV's The National. Before joining Quirks and Quarks, Mr. McDonald was the host of CBC Television's children's science program Wonderstruck. He is also the author of two books based on the program, Wonderstruck I and II. Mr. McDonald also hosted and wrote a children's TV science series, Heads Up!, which ran for 3 seasons on TVO and the Knowledge Network. In addition, he is Chairman of the Board for Geospace Planetarium. Fall 2000 saw the release of Mr. McDonald's book, Measuring the Earth with a Stick: Science as I've Seen it. The book, which was short-listed for the Canadian Science Writers Association Book Award, is a collection of essays reflecting on his 25 years as a science journalist.

The Canadian Cancer Research Alliance (CCRA) is comprised of 31 organizations that collectively represent the custodians of the majority of taxpayer dollar and donations devoted to investing in research that will lead to better ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat cancer and improve survivor outcomes. Its membership includes federal research funding programs/agencies, provincial research agencies, provincial cancer care agencies, and national cancer charities. CCRA is motivated by the belief that, through effective collaboration, Canadian cancer research funding organizations can maximize their collective impact on cancer control and accelerate discovery for the ultimate benefit of Canadians affected by cancer. The CCRA is supported by the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer through a financial contribution from Health Canada. For more information, please visit: http://www.ccra-acrc.ca

SOURCE: Canadian Cancer Research Alliance

For further information:

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Lenore Bromley (all winners)
Communications Officer
Canadian Partnership Against Cancer
(416) 915-9222 x 5781
lenore.bromley@partnershipagainstcancer.ca

Kelly Curwin (for Dr. Victor Ling)
Chief Communications Officer
Terry Fox Research Institute
Office: (604) 675-8223
Cell: (778) 237-8158
kcurwin@tfri.ca

Jane Finalyson (for Dr. John Dick)
Senior Public Affairs Advisor
Princess Margaret Cancer Centre
University Health Network
(416) 946-2846
jane.finlayson@uhn.ca

Chuck Thompson (for Mr. Bob Macdonald)
Head, Media Relations
CBC Services
(416) 205-3747
chuck.thompson@cbc.ca


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