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Dr Mathieu Lupien
Bernard and Francine Dorval Prize, 2017 co-recipient
Dr Mathieu Lupien is an innovative young scientist poised to change cancer in Canada and beyond. Early in his cancer research career, he has already built an international reputation based on his research on the epigenetics of cancer – how chemical modifications on the DNA and associated proteins regulate the function of the genome, like light switches.
His pioneering research on how genes work in cancer has revealed the impact of the non-coding genome, which comprises over 98% of the human genome. The non-coding genome was once considered to be “junk” with little biological consequence. Dr Lupien has provided paradigm-shifting evidence that, in fact, these regions of the genome are of utmost importance to cancer risk and development.
Dr Lupien has published several landmark discoveries of how epigenetic research can reveal the crucial role for both genetic and epigenetic alterations in non-coding DNA in cancer initiation and progression, identifying new targets for cancer therapy. These projects included the characterization of important non-coding DNA genetic variants and acquired mutations linked to breast, prostate and brain cancer development.
Dr Lupien is viewed as a generous collaborator and an exceptional mentor for the next generation of Canadian scientific leaders. His eye for details in research is complemented by an appreciation of the “big picture” and an inspiring passion. Overall, his world-class research program is expected to translate directly into improved cancer diagnosis and treatment.
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.