Dr. David Huntsman receives 2018 Aubrey J. Tingle Prize

World-renowned expert in cancer genetics, Dr. Huntsman is the recipient of the 2018 Aubrey J. Tingle Prize.

Created in honour of MSFHR’s founding president & CEO, this award is given annually to a British Columbia clinician scientist whose work in health research has had a significant impact on advancing research and improving health, and the health system, in BC and beyond.

Dr. David Huntsman is a professor in the departments of pathology and laboratory medicine and obstetrics and gynecology at UBC, and is the Chew Wei professor of gynecologic oncology. He is a researcher with the BC Cancer Research Centre and the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute. His research has had a transformative effect on cancer prevention and treatment.

In addition to his academic affiliations, he is also co-founder of OvCaRe, an ovarian cancer research program aimed at improving patient outcomes, and the Genetic Pathology Evaluation Centre which links archival tissues to outcome data, a process that has improved the validation of cancer diagnostics. He also created the Centre for Translational and Applied Genomics which provides clinically accredited molecular pathology services and is a founder and the chief medical officer of Contextual Genomics, a local biotech company that is delivering global solutions for cancer patients.

Dr. Huntsman’s work on the genetics of cancer has advanced the understanding and treatment of hereditary stomach cancer. Prior to his work, little was known about the disease and outcomes for patients were poor. His research has allowed clinicians to identify those at a high genetic risk for this type of cancer and to recommend surgical treatment to prevent the disease.

He has also contributed greatly to the understanding of ovarian cancer. His research team at OvCaRe demonstrated that ovarian cancer sub-types should be considered as different diseases to successfully identify bio-markers. This work has led to new diagnostic tools and ongoing progress on improved treatments. Once identified, more targeted and appropriate treatments can be developed. This led the OvCaRe team to launch the world’s first population based ovarian cancer prevention program in 2010, recommending fallopian tube removal in specific high-risk patients. This recommendation has since been adopted across Canada and in the US and Europe.

The impact of Dr. Huntsman’s research is dramatic, with 340 published papers, many in high impact journals, and 21,000 citations in the past five years alone. However, he has also committed significant time to supporting up-and-coming researchers, mentoring more than 30 trainees to this point in his career, whilst also attracting more than $20 million in funding as a principle investigator and $73 million as a co-investigator.

MSFHR is proud to have supported Dr. Huntsman’s career over the years. He received MSFHR Scholar awards in 2002 and 2007, as well as a 2004 Research Unit award to support his work at the Genetic Pathology Evaluation Centre.

MSFHR is delighted to name Dr. Huntsman the recipient of the 2018 Aubrey J. Tingle Prize. The presentation will take place on April 19 at the 20th Annual LifeSciences BC Awards.