Dr Poul Sorensen
Robert L. Noble Prize recipient in 2016
Dr Poul Sorensen has a worldwide reputation in pediatric oncology research. His outstanding work has focused on the molecular abnormalities that underlie childhood sarcomas and brain cancers, and adult cancers of the breast, brain and prostate.
The diversity of Dr Sorensen’s research program is remarkable, leading to important advances in both cancer genetics and cancer biology. Early in his career, Dr Sorensen discovered several new genetic alterations in solid childhood cancers (like Ewing’s sarcoma and Wilms tumour), which typically have less genetic complexity than adult tumours. He used these findings in an innovative way to better understand the biology of adult cancers. For example, Dr Sorensen identified the ETV6-NTRK3 gene fusion in both childhood sarcoma and a form of breast cancer, which pointed to a new treatment strategy. Dr Sorensen has also used his genetic findings to develop new tests to improve the classification of childhood cancers, which are used by clinicians around the world. More recently, Dr Sorensen drew attention to the crucial role of cancer proteins in cellular stress responses that allow cancer to grow and spread.
Dr Sorensen is a prime example of excellence in cancer research and demonstrates continued dedication to the scientific community. He regularly volunteers his expertise on grant review panels, including those of the Canadian Cancer Society. He is also recognized for his extraordinary mentorship and commitment to training the next generation of excellent scientists. Dr Sorensen is a keen and energetic researcher whose work is revealing new treatment targets in cancer and leading to new tools expected to have a concrete impact on cancer care.
Great progress has been made
Some cancers, such as thyroid and testicular, have survival rates of over 90%. Other cancers, such as pancreatic, brain and esophageal, continue to have very low survival rates.