Dr. Frances Shepherd
The 2018 Canada Gairdner Wightman Award is the latest honour for Dr. Frances Shepherd, a medical oncologist at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. (Photo: UHN)

Dr. Frances Shepherd, medical oncologist at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, has received the prestigious 2018 Canada Gairdner Wightman Award "for her global leadership in oncology which has contributed significantly to the improving survival outcome of lung cancer patients worldwide."

Dr. Shepherd holds the Scott Taylor Chair in Lung Cancer Research at the Princess Margaret and is also a Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto.

The announcement earlier today highlighted Dr. Shepherd's outstanding impact over the past 30-plus years in the field of clinical trials for lung cancer; landmark studies that have changed treatment and outcomes for patients with both small cell and non-small cell lung cancer.

"Dr. Shepherd's work has transformed the way that we think about lung cancer and the way that the world treats lung cancer," said Dr. Bradly Wouters, Executive Vice President, Science and Research, University Health Network. "I am thrilled to hear that she has been recognized with this prestigious award.

"She is extremely deserving and has been a force in Canadian science for decades." 

The Gairdner honour is the latest in a slew of national and international accolades recognizing Dr. Shepherd's unrelenting focus on lung cancer, and the major clinical advances she has helped orchestrate to develop more treatment options and improve outcomes for patients.

Under her leadership, the Canadian Clinical Trails Group Lung Cancer Site conducted many international practice-changing studies. These studies showed that post-operative chemotherapy can change the cure rate for resected lung cancer, and that molecularly targeted treatments can improve survival even in the most advanced stages of the disease.

In collaboration with basic science colleagues, Dr. Shepherd established lung cancer tumour banks that have proved to be an invaluable resource to study the biology of lung cancer at a molecular level and to link the laboratory to the clinic.

Her current clinical research is evaluating novel anti-cancer agents that are directed against the epidermal growth factor receptor and other molecular targets.

Throughout her career, Dr. Shepherd has mentored more than 40 post-doctoral research fellows from around the world, many of whom now hold senior academic positions in their home countries. She has authored or co-authored more than 500 peer-reviewed publications and 35 book chapters.​

​Dr. Shepherd is an Officer of the Order of Canada, a member of the Order of Ontario, and a recipient of the Ontario Premier's Summit Award and a Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Medal.

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