Dr. Frances Shepherd recognized with the Canada Gairdner Wightman Award

For impacting lung cancer treatment standards around the world
Wednesday, March 28, 2018

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."

Over the past 30 years, Dr. Shepherd’s research has opened the door to lung cancer therapies that now prolong patients’ lives and increase cure rates, giving them hope where there previously was none. Her work has changed treatment standards around the world. An early study she developed demonstrated the benefits of giving patients chemotherapy after surgery. That has contributed to the understanding of a disease for which research funding has often been hard-won.

Dr. Shepherd has been recognized for her many contributions in the field of lung cancer research, most notably her longstanding international leadership in the development of innovative therapies for lung cancer. In 2001 she was named the Scott Taylor Chair in Lung Cancer Research, becoming the first holder of this esteemed research position with a primary goal of investigating new options for lung cancer therapy. As Chair, Dr. Shepherd plays a vital role in attracting graduate students, scientists, other doctors and further research funding which will enable her team to intensify their study of lung cancer. Dr. Shepherd also served as Chair of the Lung Cancer Committee of the National Cancer Institute of Canada Clinical Trials Group for 19 years.

She has been the co-investigator or principal investigator in more than 100 trials, many of which have changed treatment for early stage and advanced stage patients with lung cancer around the globe. Her work has been instrumental in establishing Lung Cancer Tumour Banks in order to perform correlative science studies pertaining to lung cancer. Through her leadership, she has brought together a team of basic and clinical researchers committed to the evaluation of molecular pathways in lung cancer. This team is recognized worldwide as one of the foremost groups of bench to bedside research pertaining to lung cancer.

Dr. Shepherd received her M.D. from the University of Toronto in 1970 and currently is a senior staff physician at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto, Canada where she holds the Scott Taylor Chair in Lung Cancer Research and served as the Lung Cancer Site Group Leader for 15 years. She is a Full Professor of Medicine at University of Toronto and served as the University Medical Oncology Division Director from 1997-2003.


 About the Canadian Gairdner Awards