Susan McPeak and Charles Sirois, Group McPeak-Sirois, 2018 awardees
On the occasion of the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation’s 25th anniversary, we have revisited the distinctions presented each year in recognition of individuals for their contribution in the fight against breast cancer.
The 4 Awards of Excellence are presented during the Foundation's annual evening of recognition.
A grant now accompanies the Foundation's Awards of Excellence, to encourage continued research, innovation and support to those who have been honoured.
Scientific Grand Prize
Aims to honour an individual for the range and impact of their career. The scientific quality of the research carried out must have led to significant advances in the fight against breast cancer.
National Bank Award - Innovation and Community Support
Is awarded to an individual whose work has enabled the introduction of a remarkable innovation or contributed to the significant improvement of a practice for the benefit of patients.
Scientific achievement award
Is awarded by the Foundation to young researchers who have distinguished themselves by the quality of the projects presented under the FRQS-FCSQ Career Fellowship Program. The prize is accompanied by a supplementary grant.
The Pam McLernon award for volunteer implication
Is awarded to a volunteer, an ambassador, an organizer or a community initiative organizing committee, whose commitment to the Foundation and for the cause is exceptional in both duration and impact.
Scientific Distinction Award : Morag Park, PH.D.
Dr. Morag Park joined McGill University in 1989 and is now a professor at its Departments of Biochemistry, Medicine and Oncology. She is a fellow of The Royal Society of Canada, a James-McGill professor and holds the Diane and Sal Guerrera Chair in Cancer Genetics at McGill University. Dr. Park received a master’s degree with first class honours from the University of Glasgow, Scotland, in 1978, her doctorate in Viral carcinogenesis from the Medical Research Council Virology Institute in Scotland, in 1983, and completed her postdoctoral training at the National Institutes for Cancer Research in Washington, DC, USA, in 1988. She joined the Ludwig Cancer Institute at McGill University in 1988. She was Director of the Molecular Oncology Group at the McGill University Hospital Centre from 2006 to 2008, Scientific Director of the Institute of Cancer Research for the CIHR from 2008 to 2013, co-chair of the Canadian Cancer Research Alliance from 2008 to 2010, and has been Director of the Rosalind and Morris Goodman Cancer Research Centre from 2013 until now. Dr. Park is a research leader in the field of receptor tyrosine kinases (RTK) and mechanisms of oncogenic activation of RTKs in human cancers. She exerted leadership in the study of breast cancer microenvironment. She established the Breast Cancer Functional Genomics Group (1999) and the breast tissue bank at McGill University and is a member of the scientific board of the provincial Cancer Research Network as well as a member of the Advisory Council for Research for the Canadian Cancer Society. She is the chair of the Tumour Microenvironment Network of the American Association for Cancer Research (2015-2017). She has had more than 190 of her papers published in top-ranked journals.
She became interested in breast cancer because of the impact that it has on the lives of many women and their families. The high prevalence of breast cancer, 1 in 9 women, and the relatively young age of many women who are affected by breast cancer, makes this cancer an important research challenge over other types of cancer. The development of excellent breast cancer preclinical models and the ability to study human tumour tissues through extensive tumour banks allows us to gain a new understanding of the disease, to focus on why some tumours fail to respond to treatment, and to thus set the goal to develop new therapeutic strategies.
National Bank’s Innovation and Community Award: Dr Jean-François Boileau
Dr. Boileau is a surgical oncologist and clinician scientist at the Montreal Jewish General Hospital. He is assistant professor in the Department of Surgery at McGill University. He has worked as staff surgeon at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Montreal (CHUM) and at the Sunnybrook Odette Cancer Centre in Toronto before transferring to his current position.
His research interests are in breast cancer and clinical trials. The main focus of his research aims at using primary systemic therapy, or neoadjuvant therapy, as a more efficient way to study the effects of systemic treatments in people with breast cancer.
Dr. Boileau is the principle investigator of the SN FNAC Trial, a Canadian multicenter study evaluating the accuracy of sentinel node biopsy in node positive breast cancer patients following neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Other research interests include the identification of better predictors of response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy and early detection of breast cancer.
His work on sentinel node excision has changed practice around the world.
His bjectives: to reduce the occurrence of morbid lymphedema and to improve the quality of life of patients.
Emerging Scientist Award: Dr. Lynn Gauthier and Dr. Saima Hassan
Dr. Lynn Gauthier
Dr. Gauthier is Assistant Professor of Palliative Care in the Department of Family Medicine and Emergency Medicine of the Faculty of Medicine at Laval University. She is also a regular researcher in the oncology axis of the CHU of Quebec-Laval University Research Centre, as well as in the Michel-Sarrazin Research Team in Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care (ERMOS). She is also co-director of the Axis 1 of the Quebec Research Network in Palliative and End-of-Life Care (RQSPAL) and a regular member of the Quebec Pain Research Network. She completed her PhD at the School of Kinesiology and Health Sciences at York University in Toronto in 2013 and her postdoctoral at the Princess Margaret Cancer Center in 2016. Her research goals are at the intersection of pain and aging. Her main objective is to improve the assessment and management of pain during adulthood, particularly in the elderly population. Dr. Gauthier aims to deepen our understanding of pain, its management, as well as to identify ways to improve it in order to reduce patients’ suffering.
Dr. Saima Hassan
Dr. Saima Hassan is an oncologist surgeon, researcher, and assistant professor at the Université de Montréal. She holds a diploma from the Faculty of Medicine and General Surgery at McGill University. She completed a PhD in translational research on diagnostic and prognostic markers in the context of breast cancer metastases. She went on to complete a fellowship in general surgery for oncology, with a focus on breast cancer and melanomas. She went through three years of postdoctoral research studying the pre-clinical role of PARP inhibitors in triple-negative breast cancer at the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, Oregon. Dr. Hassan also carried out clinical activities in breast cancer under the supervision of Dr. André Robidoux.
Her research goal is to better understand the therapeutic approach to triple-negative breast cancer. While three or four types of chemotherapy is the standard of care, it is not well understood if all of these patients require this treatment, with its associated cytotoxic side effects. It is plausible that a proportion of these patients could benefit from more targeted therapy, such as PARP inhibitors. PARP inhibitors target the DNA repair process and are currently being evaluated in clinical trials. Our objective is to better understand the efficacy of PARP inhibitors as single-agents and in combination using a cell-line model, in order to better select which breast cancer patients may benefit from such treatment.
The Pam McLernon Volunteer Engagement Award: the 5 dragon boating teams
Left to right:
- Martine Pirlet, Les Phénix de la Rose des vents team leader
- Anne-Marie couture, Seincr’eau team leader
- Georgina Cama Lee, Côte-à-côte, Two Abreast team leader
- Mitsou Gélinas, spokesperson for the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation
- Pam Mc Lernon, Founder of the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation
- Rachelle Audet, Les Dragons de l’Ouest-de-l’Île team leader
- Chantal Lachance, Vise-à-vie team leader
Breast cancer dragon boating is a movement inspired by the research of Canadian Sports Medicine expert, Don McKenzie. Breast cancer survivors come together to paddle dragon boats to the benefit of their physical health and social wellbeing. The teams proudly represent the Foundation in all the activities and competitions in which they participate, throughout the province and sometimes even around the world, including promoting healthy living habits.
Outstanding Engagement Award - National Bank: Anne Robert
Ms. Anne Robert received the Outstanding Engagement Award from the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation for her remarkable engagement with Richard and William, whose mother, Yun Min, died of a breast cancer in 2017. Young prodigies in the art of playing the violin, both brothers study at the Conservatoire de Musique de Montréal. Their violin teacher, Ms. Anne Robert, who is a breast cancer survivor, took care of them while looking for an adoptive family. She refused to let these talented children give up their passion and called upon the Conservatoire and the Foundation to create a fund. The Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation is grateful for the National Bank's generosity and their contribution to this fund.
Scientific / Medical / Research Award: Jacques Simard and the PERSPECTIVE team
PERSPECTIVE project: Personalized risk stratification for the prevention and early detection of breast cancer.
An extensive international collaboration involving hundreds of researchers from around the globe, has identified 72 new genetic variations that increase the risk of developing breast cancer. Professor Jacques Simard, researcher in charge of the CHU Research Center of the Québec-Université Laval and holder of the Canada Research Chair in Oncogenetics, is one of the main authors who supervised the work. At the end of a four year study for his PERSPECTIVE research project, the Quebec researcher has obtained data that will allow improved genetic knowledge of breast cancer.
The project aims to develop stratification tools that will target breast cancer screening using mammography in women at risk of developing the disease. This will better serve younger women who are at high risk for breast cancer and currently do not fall under the standard, mostly age-based screening program as eligibility criteria. Due to the often more aggressive nature of breast cancer in these young women, earlier detection and follow-up would allow the use of less invasive treatments, reduce the side effects of treatments, improve their survival rate and increase their quality of life.
Community Innovation Award: Susan McPeak and Charles Sirois from the McPeak-Sirois Group
The McPeak-Sirois Group was born due to the willpower and hard work of Susan McPeak and Charles Sirois.
By regrouping the willpower and the expertise of the main research centers in Quebec in the fight against breast cancer, the McPeak-Sirois Group created an attractive force that promotes obtaining increased research protocols in Quebec. More specifically, the Group intends to build a multi-institutional network of clinicians, researchers and members of the medical community involved in clinical research on breast cancer. A new approach for the fight against breast cancer.
Pam McLernon Award - Events and fundraisers: Sylvie Brisebois
In 2009, Sylvie Brisebois organized first edition of the "Ride de filles" motorbike excursion. 50 participants raised $7,000 for the Foundation in the first year. Today, over 200 people come together to raise an average of $70,000 each year due to the implication of the organizing committee, volunteers and participants. Sylvie's initiative has raised nearly $400,000 over 9 years and for the 10th anniversary in 2018, the goal is to reach $500,000. The singer, Lulu Hugues, has also joined the team as a spokesman.
JoAnne Kelly Rudy Award - Volunteer of the year: Diane Arbour
Ms. Diane Arbour became a member of the Foundation's Board of Directors in 2007 and served as Chair from 2014 to 2017. Her volunteer implication in breast cancer was remarkable and came from the heart. Great achievements have been made possible by her unifying leadership and dedication to the cause as Chair. She continues today with phenomenal generosity in her involvement with many organizations.
Scientific / Medical /Research Award: Dr. Louise Provencher and Dr. Sarkis Meterissian
The Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation is proud to rely on Dr. Louise Provencher and Dr. Sarkis Meterissian, both surgeon-oncologists and involved in clinical research, at the head of the breast health advisory board. Recognized and esteemed by their peers and patients, these doctors have an impressive track record. They work in two of Quebec's leading university hospitals that have received the transregional designation for breast cancer.
Doctor Louise Provencher is a general surgeon and oncologist at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire (CHU) in Quebec. She's also been medical officer of the Deschênes-Fabia Breast Disease Centre at Hôpital du Saint-Sacrement since 2003, which treats more than 800 new cases of breast cancer annually; making it one of the largest in Canada. She's also Associate Clinical Professor in the Department of Surgery of the Faculty of Medicine at Université Laval.
Dr. Provencher is highly involved in clinical research and has been a main researcher or co-researcher for several international multicenter studies sponsored by prestigious organizations such as the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project, the National Cancer Institute of Canada, and the Breast Cancer International Research Group, in addition to having worked on studies funded by pharmaceutical companies.
Dr. Provencher has written numerous scientific articles, is a frequent speaker in Quebec and across the globe, in addition to organizing several conferences on breast cancer. She has received numerous awards and special mentions including the Excellence Award from the Collège des Médecins du Québec for her outstanding work over the past 30 years with women affected by breast cancer.
Doctor Sarkis Meterissian is a Professor in Surgery and Oncology and has been the Director of the Cedars Breast Clinic of the MUHC since 2006. He's also Associate Dean for Postgraduate Education at McGill University.
Dr. Meterissian has been a member of the Centre for Medical Education since 2001 and was President of the Canadian Society of Surgical Oncology from 2007 to 2009. He also chairs the Board of Vice-Deans for Postdoctoral Studies of Canada, a committee of the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada and serves as President Elect of the Canadian Association of University Surgeons and International Breast Surgery, which is part of the International Society of Surgery. He currently sits on the board of directors of the Collège des Médecins du Québec.
Appointed Professor of Excellence in General Surgery in 2000 and 2001, in addition to Professor of Excellence in the Department of Surgery in 1996, he was also named on the honorary faculty list as a teacher in 2005. He won the prestigious Philip J. Wolfson Teaching Award in 2007 presented by the Association for Surgical Education, which unites over 190 medical institutions and schools in North America. Dr. Meterissian was also a visiting professor in Utrecht and Stockholm from 2007 to 2009.
Community Innovation Award: Dr. Joseph Bou-Mehri, Jacinthe Brodeur, Marie-France Vachon and Louise Handfield, CHUM
We honour the CHUM team who devised and implemented this significant improvement to practices. Presented in 2014 as part of the Foundation's One Million to Help Contest, the project "Education and Support for Breast Reconstruction Decision Making" has enabled the creation and implementation of concrete tools to help women prior to their reconstructive surgery, such as fact sheets, decision-making videos, the implementation of a preoperative learning session and the systematic follow-up of nurses when surgery is decided and throughout the hospital trajectory, in addition to the training of hospital and community stakeholders who interact with these women.
The project has adopted an integrated approach that allows women to be full partners throughout the care trajectory, to be supported and involved from decision-making in regards to breast reconstruction, until being discharged from the hospital after surgery.
Pam McLernon Award - Events and fundraisers: Serge Legault
For a 7th consecutive year, the Zumbathon organized by the Centre communautaire Laurent-Venne was a complete success! This festive and unifying event would not be the same without the enthusiastic collaboration of Serge Legault, Director of the Community Center, presenters and teachers, participants, partners and sponsors, and volunteers who are wholeheartedly involved in this incredible project
JoAnne Kelly Rudy Award - Volunteer of the year: Lise Gendron
Lise Gendron has been helping the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation for 15 years now. She has been a long-time supporter of our weekly activities and spent her summer supporting teams in preparation of our largest annual event until 2017: CIBC Run for the Cure. She was in charge of the food tent at this event for 10 years, which welcoms about 6,000 people every year. She led a team of volunteers while being dedicated to the participants.
She continues to be involved in preparing all of our events and helps us on the ground.Her energy and liveliness constantly inspires us to surpass our own personal limits.
Scientific / Medical / Research Award: Dr. André Robidoux
Dr. André Robidoux is a Professor of Surgery and holds the Scotiabank Chair in Diagnosis and Treatment of Breast Cancer at the Université de Montréal. He is also Director of the CHUM breast cancer research group. In addition, he has been elected to the Board of Directors of the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast Project (NSABP) and is the chief researcher at NRG Oncology. He's served on the Research Advisory Committee of the Canadian Alliance for Breast Cancer Research, the Royal College Council and many NSABP committees.
In 2010, Dr. Robidoux received the British Journal of Surgery Lecture Award, which was awarded by the Royal College of England's Breast Surgery Association and the Distinguished Investigator Lifetime Achievement Award from the NSABP to highlight his unwavering commitment to the NSABP and oncology research. He's also been appointed NSABP Senior Liaison Officer in Canada. Dr. Robidoux was elected to the Board of Directors of the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer in 2010.His important contribution to the recent creation of the McPeak-Sirois Quebec research group, which unites three universities, of which he's the chair of the scientific committee.
His greatest contribution is the adoption of a scientific approach in terms of the considerable contribution of clinical studies in patient management. In 2013, Dr. Robidoux published a book titled "Les raisons d’espérer : ce que la recherche nous apprend sur le cancer du sein" (Reasons for Hope: What We're Learning about Breast Cancer).
Community Innovation Award category: Réseau ROSE
From left to right: Dr. Michel Dorval and Dr. Jocelyne Chiquette representing the Réseau ROSE, accompanied by Angèle Dubeau and Mitsou Gélinas
The Réseau ROSE (oncogenetic resources for support and education) is a group of health professionals, scholars, managers and patients whose mission is to inform and support people at risk of cancer by providing a team of oncogenetic specialists.
The Réseau ROSE is the culmination of a reflection initiated in 2010 by doctors Jocelyne Chiquette, a senior physician and Michel Dorval, researcher and university professor. It's the result of several scientific studies, in addition to clinical experience of doctors at the Deschênes-Fabia Breast Disease Centre of the CHU of the Québec-Université Laval (CMS) that have identified needs in support and information for women at risk for breast cancer and their families. In September 2012, funding was obtained from the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation and resulted in the establishment of the Centre ROSE in Quebec City. In 2015, additional funding from the same foundation resulted in the establishment of the Réseau ROSE, an expansion of the Centre ROSE's mission to other partners already working in the field of hereditary cancers.
Pam McLernon Award - Events and fundraisers: Diane Paquette (on the left), accompanied by Micheline Cloutier-Coffin and Mitsou Gélinas
In 2011, Diane Paquette took the initiative to set up the “RALLYE POUR LA GUÉRISON” tournament (rally for the cure) at the Laval sur le Lac golf club. The tournament, only open to the club's female members, demonstrates the solidarity they share in the fight against breast cancer. Today, this unifying event has helped the Foundation to raise over $20,000 a year for a total of $123,500 to date.
JoAnne Kelly Rudy Award - Volunteer of the year: Claude Thibault
Claude Thibault joined the Breast Cancer Foundation as a volunteer only a few years after its creation. She's been accompanying and supporting the Foundation's teams, both in the office and in the field for almost 20 years. Her kindness, generosity and irreproachable smile have greatly contributed to the soul of the Foundation.