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Toronto (Nov. 18, 2007) - The National Cancer Institute of Canada (NCIC), the country's longest-standing research organization dedicated to supporting excellent cancer research and advancing cancer control, presented the first ever Diamond Jubilee Awards to 10 of Canada's leading cancer researchers at a special presentation tonight.

The Diamond Jubilee Award is a one-time award, created on the occasion of the NCIC's 60th anniversary, to recognize researchers who have made truly outstanding contributions to cancer research in Canada over their careers. The dedication and landmark achievements of the award winners have led to new insights and developments in the many facets of cancer research, leading the way for current and future researchers to expand on their work.

"We are here tonight to celebrate 60 outstanding years of progress in cancer research and to honour several of the very best cancer researchers Canada has produced," says Dr. Elizabeth Eisenhauer, President of the NCIC. "In cancer research, every new finding builds on the one that came before it. Over the past 60 years, researchers have uncovered a multitude of answers to many of the most pressing cancer questions, leading to vast improvements in prevention, early detection and treatment. The outstanding researchers we are honouring today have laid a rock solid foundation, putting us in a position of great strength to build on. They represent our past and also our future. For this, we are very grateful and proud to be here in such distinguished company."

The first ever Diamond Jubilee Award winners are:

  • Dr. Roy Cameron, Executive Director of NCIC's Centre for Behavourial Research and Program Evaluation (CBRPE) /University of Waterloo, for his work in tobacco control, cancer control, public policy and population health. CBRPE is funded by the Canadian Cancer Society.
  • Dr. Anthony Pawson, Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute/Mount Sinai Hospital, for his work in clarifying basic mechanisms of cancer cell signaling that has transformed our view of cancer biology.
  • Dr. Victor Ling of the BC Cancer Agency/BC Cancer Research Centre; Dr. Roger Deeley of Queen's Cancer Research Institute /Queen's University; and Dr. Susan Cole of the Division of Cancer Biology & Genetics/Queen's University, for their paradigm-shifting discoveries related to better understanding of resistance to cancer treatment.
  • Dr. James Till of the Ontario Cancer Institute/University Health Network; Dr. Ernest McCulloch retired from Princess Margaret Hospital; and Dr. John Dick of the Ontario Cancer Institute/University Health Network, for their seminal work in cancer stem cell research.
  • Dr. Lesley Degner of the Faculty of Nursing, University of Manitoba, for her research into behaviours and supportive care leading to improved quality-of-life and supportive tools for cancer patients.
  • Dr. Joseph Pater of the NCIC Clinical Trials Group/Queen's University, for his work in identifying new and effective cancer therapies which have improved patients' survival and lives. The NCIC Clinical Trials Group is funded by the Canadian Cancer Society.

"Sixty years ago, when the NCIC was founded, little was known about cancer," says Dr. Michael Wosnick, Executive Director of the NCIC. "Today, it is a very different story, thanks to the combined efforts of our superb Canadian research community and the continued generosity of the Canadian public who make research possible. The progress in these years has been nothing short of astonishing; from a survival rate of only 25 per cent in the 1940s, to 60 per cent today. We can only imagine what research will contribute to growing this rate even higher."

The awards were presented at a special dinner at the Toronto Intercontinental Hotel with the University Health Network (Ontario Cancer Institute/Princess Margaret Hospital) as awards dinner sponsor.

From its humble beginnings in 1947 with a staff of two, the NCIC has grown to become Canada's largest charitably funded cancer research granting organization. To date, we have contributed more than $1.3 billion in funding to thousands of outstanding researchers nationwide. Through committed investment from the Canadian Cancer Society and The Terry Fox Foundation, NCIC grants cover all facets of cancer research from basic molecular investigations to behavioural and prevention studies.

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