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A crusade to cure cancer

Joseph Pater recognized for a lifetime of leading more than 300 clinical cancer trials.

Queen’s researcher and NCIC Clinical Trials Group’s (NCIC CTG) founding director Joseph Pater has been honoured by the Canadian Cancer Research Alliance (CCRA) for a lifetime of advancing the understanding and treatment of cancer.

Dr. Pater joined the Departments of Medicine and Radiation Oncology (now Oncology)] in 1975 after completing his residency at Queen’s and earning a master’s degree in clinical epidemiology and biostatistics from McMaster University. In 1980, he became the first director of a reconstituted NCIC CTG.

Joseph Pater is being honoured for a lifetime of advancing cancer research.

Dr. Pater pushed the organization in a direction that resulted in many successful research projects and the development of an extensive portfolio of clinical trials. As director, he also strived to harness the cancer research already occurring in Canada.

“I wanted the cancer research leaders engaged in trials at NCIC CTG,” says Dr. Pater. “And I wanted to convince Canadian researchers they could do their research under a Canadian umbrella.”

Dr. Pater headed the NCIC CTG for 27 years. During his tenure he played an active part in the development, execution and analysis of more than 100 cooperative cancer trials and oversaw more than 300 clinical trials involving more than 45,000 patients worldwide. He led the charge for innovation in cancer clinical trials and worked to foster collaborations among physicians and researchers across Canada and internationally.

“Dr. Pater’s contribution is significant – he literally built the cancer clinical research community in Canada. This award is our way to acknowledge his exceptional achievements,” says Elizabeth Eisenhauer, CCRA co-chair and Head of Queen’s Department of Oncology. “Studies of new treatments undertaken by the NCIC CTG have improved the survival or cure rates of many cancers, including breast, lung, ovary, brain and lymphoma. Under Dr. Pater’s leadership, the NCIC CTG conducted many trials that changed practice and established a new standard of care for practice in Canada and internationally.”

Dr. Pater is now an emeritus professor and remains active on a part-time basis with NCIC CTG. He says he’s pleased with the recognition he recently received for his career.

“I’m satisfied with many aspects of my career including having clinical research recognized as ‘real’ research. I’m pleased with the work we’ve done fighting cancer. It’s quite an honour getting an award like this from your peers.”

Dr. Pater will receive the Outstanding Achievements in Cancer Research award on Tuesday, Nov. 10 during the CCRA’s annual conference.