(November 27, 2011 – Toronto, ON)
Dr. Tony Pawson, Distinguished Investigator at the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital, Apotex Chair in Molecular Oncology and Kyoto Prize Laureate, has received the Canadian Cancer Research Alliance (CCRA) Award for Outstanding Achievements in Cancer Research, adding to a prodigious career marked by milestone breakthroughs in cancer research. The award was presented this evening at the Canadian Cancer Research Conference in Toronto.
“This award from the CCRA is deeply gratifying to me personally, and a tribute to the scientists in my laboratory who have worked so hard to unravel the mysteries of normal and cancerous cells,” said Dr. Pawson, who provided an overview of his research at the conference.
The award recognizes Dr. Pawson’s exceptional contributions in cancer biology that have led to improved outcomes for cancer patients.
“The CCRA is delighted to honour Dr. Pawson with this award,” said Dr. Elizabeth Eisenhauer, Co-Chair of CCRA and Chair of Research at the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer. “His research has contributed to a transformation in how we approach and treat cancer, leading to improved survival for thousands of cancer patients. He is an outstanding scientist, truly deserving of this award.”
Dr. Pawson is world renowned for his research into the mechanisms by which cells in the body communicate with one another, a process termed signal transduction. His work in this area has revolutionized scientists’ understanding of the way our cells function in health and in disease. His discoveries impact many aspects of medical research and are relevant for the understanding and treatment of a range of diseases including cancer, diabetes, and disorders of the immune system. In the 35 years he has spent studying how cells grow and interact with each other, he has become one of most highly cited scientists in his field.
In particular, Dr. Pawson studies how the growth of cells is controlled by chemical signals from their neighbours, and the ways in which cancers usurp these signals to grow inappropriately. His groundbreaking discoveries have set the stage for the development of new generations of drugs that halt the proliferation of particular kinds of cancer cells.
“Tony’s work is the epitome of scientific excellence,” said Dr. Jim Woodgett, the Lunenfeld’s Director of Research. “His transformative discovery of the modular nature of protein docking structures fundamentally changed our understanding of how protein networks are organized inside all cells. His work has enabled new therapies and new fields of study. He's a truly amazing colleague and everyone at the Lunenfeld is so very proud of him.”
This latest honour adds to an epic list of accolades for Dr. Pawson, who has been conducting research at the Lunenfeld since its inception in 1985. In June 2008, he was the first Canadian scientist to be named a Kyoto Prize Laureate. In 2006, he was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame, and that same year he was named to the Order of the Companions of Honour by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, one of only nine Canadians to have received such an honour. He has received international recognition for his research achievements and his list of prestigious awards and honours includes the 2007 Premier’s Summit Award for Medical Research, the Gairdner Foundation International Award, the Dr. H.P. Heineken Prize for Biochemistry and Biophysics, the Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize and the Wolf Prize in Medicine. Dr. Pawson has been elected to the Order of Ontario; he is a fellow of the Royal Societies of London and Canada, and a foreign member of the US National Academy.
The CCRA is an alliance of cancer research funding organizations and other affiliated partners working together as part of the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer to: identify, develop, and initiate large transformative cancer research initiatives; coordinate cancer research at a pan-Canadian level; document cancer research activity in Canada (i.e., the Canadian Cancer Research Survey); and act as the Partnership’s Research Advisory Group.