Dr Daniel De Carvalho
Bernard and Francine Dorval Prize, 2017 co-recipient
Dr Daniel De Carvalho is one of Canada’s rising stars in cancer research. In the early stages of his career, he has already transformed our understanding of how gene activity is controlled in cancer, leading to innovative therapeutic approaches.
Dr De Carvalho’s research focuses on epigenetics (chemical marks on the DNA that act as a code to turn genes on or off) – how this impacts cancer development and how this can lead to new treatments. His research also spans an interface with other leading-edge disciplines, such as cancer immunology and cancer stem cells.
While many epigenetic changes can be detected in cancers, only some of them actively drive cancer development and growth. Dr De Carvalho was the first to define epigenetic changes that were a driving force in colorectal cancer. His research has also revealed that an epigenetic drug can trick colorectal cancer stem cells into mounting an immune response as if they had been infected with a virus – stopping them in their tracks. This has fundamentally changed our understanding of how epigenetic drugs work as cancer therapies. This research has also led to new clinical trials combining epigenetic drugs with immunotherapy, rapidly impacting patients’ lives.
Dr De Carvalho is seen as a role model for young scientists across the country and beyond. He is widely appreciated as a world leader who bridges several disciplines in cancer research, accelerating progress toward a world where no one fears cancer.