Canadian Cancer Society honours top researchers with Awards for Excellence

TORONTO, June 25, 2015 /CNW/ - Five of Canada's most outstanding cancer scientists received prestigious cancer research awards today. The Canadian Cancer Society honoured 5 remarkable researchers with Awards for Excellence for their tremendous contributions to progress in cancer research. The awards were presented at a gala event in Toronto this morning.

"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," says 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."

Long-time Society supporter, and one of the country's leading authorities on personal finance and wealth management, Patricia Lovett-Reid, hosted the event and moderated a lively panel discussion.

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," says 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.

About the Canadian Cancer Society

The Canadian Cancer Society is a national, community-based organization of volunteers whose mission is to eradicate cancer and enhance the quality of life of people living with cancer. Thanks to our donors and volunteers, the Society has the most impact, against the most cancers, in the most communities in Canada. Building on our progress, we are working with Canadians to change cancer forever. For more information, visit cancer.ca or call our toll-free bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1-888-939-3333 (TTY 1-866-786-3934). Make your gift today at cancer.ca

SOURCE Canadian Cancer Society (National Office)

For further information: Christine Harminc, Canadian Cancer Society, christine.harminc@cancer.ca, 416 934-5340

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http://www.cancer.ca

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