Media Release

Canadian Cancer Society honours researchers for groundbreaking achievements and visionary leadership in cancer research


Seven prominent Canadian researchers were recognized today by the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) with a 2020 CCS Award for Excellence for their bold leadership and trailblazing contributions to drive progress in multiple areas of cancer research.

In addition to 4 prizes for exceptional achievements in basic biomedical and cancer control research, this year’s Awards for Excellence included 2 new prizes: the Lifetime Contribution Prize and the Inclusive Excellence Prize.

 Dr Joseph Pater is the recipient of the inaugural Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) Lifetime Contribution Prize, which recognizes an individual who, through their vision and leadership, has enhanced the Canadian cancer research landscape to significantly benefit people with cancer. Dr Pater was the founding director of the Canadian Cancer Trials Group (CCTG) and led the group for 27 years. Under his guidance, CCTG has become one of the most well-respected cancer clinical trials networks in the world, producing results that have accelerated the development of new treatments and established new standards of care in Canada and around the globe.

 The first-ever Inclusive Excellence Prize, which honours individuals who have demonstrated leadership in the advancement of equity, diversity and inclusion in the Canadian cancer research ecosystem, is jointly awarded to Drs Nadine Caron and Juliet Daniel.

 Dr Caron is the First Nations Health Authority Chair in Cancer and Wellness at the University of British Columbia and the Co-Director of the UBC Centre for Excellence in Indigenous Health. As a surgeon and researcher of First Nations descent, she has passionately and tirelessly advocated for the rights of marginalized and Indigenous peoples in Canada in cancer research and care.

 Dr Daniel is a cancer researcher at McMaster University who volunteers her time to raise awareness and reduce stigma about breast cancer among young Black women and mentor underrepresented youth in science. She is also the co-founder of the Canadian Black Scientists Network, which is dedicated to supporting Black Canadians in the science, technology, engineering and math fields.

 “We’re pleased to introduce the Lifetime Contribution Prize and the Inclusive Excellence Prize this year, which provide an opportunity to honour extraordinary Canadian researchers in a new way,” says Dr Stuart Edmonds, Executive Vice-President, Research & Advocacy at CCS. “The work of Drs Caron, Daniel and Pater has had, and will continue to have, a tremendous impact on cancer research in Canada and on the lives of people affected by cancer.”

 In addition to the Lifetime Contribution Prize and Inclusive Excellence Prize, the following researchers were honoured today for their remarkable achievements:

  • Recipient of the William E. Rawls Prize: Dr Yvonne Bombard of the University of Toronto and the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of Unity Health Toronto, for her work and advocacy in making genetic testing safer, more ethical and effective so that more people with cancer can benefit from it.
  • Recipient of the O. Harold Warwick Prize: Dr Geoffrey Fong of the University of Waterloo, for his leadership of the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project, the world’s largest tobacco research program, whose findings have directly contributed to stronger tobacco control policies around the world to protect people from the harms of smoking tobacco.
  • Recipient of the Robert L. Noble Prize: Dr Nada Jabado of McGill University, for discovering that brain tumours in children are fundamentally distinct from the same tumours found in adults and that nearly half of pediatric glioblastomas, an aggressive type of brain tumour, are caused by mutations in genes that affect how DNA is structured and organized. Her work has fundamentally changed our understanding of childhood brain tumours and how to treat them, helping children live longer and experience a higher quality of life.
  • Recipient of the Bernard and Francine Dorval Prize: Dr Claudia Kleinman of McGill University, for her work mapping the development of the human brain at the single cell level to identify when and where different childhood brain tumours arise. These findings have changed how some tumours are classified and identified new potential treatments for others, paving the way for improved outcomes for children with these deadly cancers.

“This year’s recipients of the CCS Awards for Excellence highlight the remarkable depth and breadth of expertise we have in Canada and the dedication of our cancer researchers,” says Dr Edmonds. “We applaud their commitment to drive progress not only through their cutting-edge research, but also through their advocacy and collaborative efforts. It is thanks to them and researchers like them that cancer research is giving Canadians hope for life that is bigger than cancer.”

About research at the Canadian Cancer Society

CCS is the largest national charitable funder of cancer research in Canada. Wehave a rich legacy of fuelling discoveries that have improved how we prevent, diagnose, treat and live with and beyond cancer. To drive change for the nearly 1 in 2 Canadians who will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, we must accelerate change by investing in innovation and continuing to be forward-thinking.With your help, we will continue to strengthen and expand research potential through bold new ideas and emerging technologies. Together we can ensure research changes the future of cancer.

About the Canadian Cancer Society

The Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) is the only national charity that supports Canadians with all cancers in communities across the country. No other organization does what we do; we are the voice for Canadians who care about cancer. We fund groundbreaking research, provide a support system for all those affected by cancer and advocate to governments for important social change. 

Help us make a difference. Call 1-888-939-3333 or visit today.

For more information, please contact:
Betty Zou
Manager, Research Communications
Canadian Cancer Society
437 266-1973