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Remembering a cancer research pioneer

09 August 2013

Toronto -

Dr Anthony Pawson revolutionized the understanding of cell signaling – the complex system of communication that governs basic cellular activities and organizes cell actions. His pioneering research on a group of enzymes called tyrosine kinases, which play a key role in controlling cell production, led to a groundbreaking discovery identifying the specific protein interactions controlling cell signals and has influenced all aspects of biomedical science.

Dr Pawson died on August 7 at 60.

"Tony was a titan in the field of cancer research. We are deeply saddened by this news,” says Dr Christine Williams, Vice President, Research, Canadian Cancer Society. “He transformed our understanding of cell signalling and his brilliant work has no doubt saved many lives and will continue to do so. He also leaves a tremendous legacy of knowledge for the legions of young scientists he trained. He was generous, charming and humble and will be greatly missed by so many."

The author of more than 300 articles, Dr Pawson was one of the top cited scientists in the world and was highly respected in the international scientific community. He received numerous awards over his distinguished career including the Gairdner Foundation International Award, the AACR/Pezcoller International Award for Cancer Research, the Heineken Prize for Biochemistry and Biophysics (Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences), the Killam Prize for Health Sciences, the Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize, the Wolf Prize in Medicine, the Royal Medal from the Royal Society of London, the Kyoto Prize, the Canadian Cancer Research Alliance Award for Outstanding Achievements in Cancer Research, and the Robert L. Noble Award from the Canadian Cancer Society (formerly the National Cancer Institute of Canada).

He was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame, an award which honoured his 25 years of work in biomedical research. In addition to this recognition within the medical community, Dr Pawson is a member of the Order of Ontario, Officer of the Order of Canada and was appointed by Queen Elizabeth II to the Order of Companions of Honour.

The Canadian Cancer Society supported Dr Pawson’s work for over a decade and is proud to have funded his meaningful and influential research.

The Canadian Cancer Society is a national community-based organization of volunteers whose mission is the eradication of cancer and the enhancement of the quality of life of people living with cancer. When you want to know more about cancer, visit our website www.cancer.ca or call our toll-free, bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333.