John Dick, PhD

A pioneer in blood cancer research

For nearly four decades, John E. Dick, PhD, FRS has been revolutionizing the field of cancer stem cell (CSC) biology. His discovery of leukemia stem cells, the first type of CSC to be detected and characterized by researchers, laid the foundation for new approaches to treating cancer. Since this discovery, his findings have been used to detect CSCs in human tumours such as those affecting the brain, pancreas, skin and liver. By proving that CSCs are clinically relevant, Dr. Dick transformed our understanding of the origin and nature of cancer, leading virtually all major cancer centres worldwide to explore the underlying biological characteristics and regulation of these cells. Industry leaders have followed suit, with large pharmaceutical companies like Merck and Genentech developing new drug candidates that target CSCs. For his remarkable work with several prestigious organizations as a scientist, professor and director, Dr. Dick has been honoured with numerous accolades, including the Canada Gairdner International Award (2022). He continues to lead and influence the CSC field, most recently as the Helga and Antonio De Gasperis Chair in Blood Cancer Stem Cell Research at University Health Network.

About the CMHF

The Canadian Medical Hall of Fame (CMHF) celebrates Canadian heroes whose work advances health in Canada and the world, fostering future generations of health professionals through the delivery of local and national youth education programs and awards.

This enduring tribute to our country’s rich medical history is showcased here and in our physical exhibit hall in London, ON.