Canada’s top cancer researchers honoured by Society

20 July 2016

Toronto -

Today 4 outstanding cancer researchers were presented with the Canadian Cancer Society’s most prestigious cancer research awards at a ceremony at the Sheraton Centre Hotel in Toronto. The Awards for Excellence promote and recognize outstanding achievements and progress in Canadian cancer research.

“Behind every one of Canada’s tremendous contributions to cancer prevention and care is a scientist who has dedicated their career to making advances in the incredibly complex area that is cancer,” says Dr Siân Bevan, Vice-President, Research, Canadian Cancer Society. “These researchers are members of our community who are going above and beyond to improve our lives, and the lives of generations to come. On behalf of our donors, we thank our researchers for all they do in creating a world where no one fears cancer.”

This year’s recipients range from a pioneer who has led research into treatment for a form of testicular cancer, to a leading researcher who is translating his childhood cancer research into research in adult cancers. As well, the Society recognizes 2 young researchers, one who is going above and beyond to broaden the understanding of childhood brain cancers, and another who has improved the lives of cancer survivors by developing an online system to pair up survivors so they can exercise together.

The awards, which come with a $20,000 contribution to each recipient’s research program, were announced by the Society earlier this year.

Dr Mary Gospodarowicz is the recipient of the O. Harold Warwick Prize for outstanding achievements in cancer control research. Dr Gospodarowicz is the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre’s medical director and the first Canadian immediate Past President of the Union for International Cancer Control. She is a radiation oncologist whose dedication and leadership for over 30 years has continued to improve patient outcomes through clinical research. Early in her career, she pioneered research into treatment for testicular cancer, clinical trials in prostate and bladder cancer, Hodgkin lymphoma, and late effects of radiotherapy. Through her involvement in committees of the Canadian Cancer Trials Group (CCTG; formerly the NCIC Clinical Trials Group) she guides high impact cancer research. She has also been instrumental in advocating for access to radiotherapy in low- or middle-income countries.

Dr Poul Sorensen is awarded the Robert L. Noble Prize for outstanding achievements in basic biomedical cancer research. He is a globally renowned molecular pathologist from the BC Cancer Agency and University of British Columbia. Dr Sorensen’s research focuses on molecular abnormalities that underlie childhood sarcomas and brain tumours, and adult cancers of the breast, brain and prostate. He is able to use findings from his childhood cancer research to better understand the biology of adult cancers, including how cellular stress responses contribute to aggressive tumour behavior. His energy and commitment to his work is seen in the extraordinary mentorship and training he offers, as well as the time and expertise he lends to grant review panels.

Dr Catherine Sabiston from the University of Toronto receives the William E. Rawls Prize, given to a young investigator whose outstanding contributions have led to important advances in cancer control. Dr Sabiston’s work is positioned to have a far-reaching impact on the integration of physical activity into cancer care and survivorship. Her study on the psychosocial experience of breast cancer survivors involved in dragon boating was published in the top exercise psychology journal. She has also provided an online system to connect cancer survivors as exercise partners to help them conquer barriers together.

Finally, the Bernard and Francine Dorval Prize this year is awarded to Dr Uri Tabori from The Hospital for Sick Children and the University of Toronto. This prize is given to a young investigator whose outstanding contributions to basic biomedical research have led to improved understanding of cancer treatments and/or cures. Dr Tabori’s outstanding contributions to foundational cancer research in pediatric oncology has significantly advanced the scientific community’s understanding of childhood brain tumours. In particular, Dr Tabori has helped explain the molecular basis of the most common brain tumour found in children. He volunteers his time and expertise to the Society and other funders as a grant reviewer and fundraiser, as well as participating in monthly telemedicine meetings with clinicians at children’s cancer centres in developing countries.

More information on the Society’s Awards for Excellence and this year’s recipients.

The Canadian Cancer Society funds the best cancer research in Canada thanks to our generous donors and our rigorous peer-review process. We are the largest national charitable funder of cancer research in Canada, funding hundreds of researchers in universities, hospitals and research centres. For more information, visit or call our toll-free bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1-888-939-3333 (TTY 1-866-786-3934).

For more information, please contact:

Brooke Kelly

Communications Coordinator

Canadian Cancer Society

National office

Phone: 416-934-5321