2010 INDUCTEE Phil Gold, MD PhD Cancer


September 17, 1936

(Montreal, Québec)


MDCM, McGill University (1961)

PhD, McGill University (1965)

Awards & Honours:

2022: McGill University Medal

2019: Honorary DSc, University of British Columbia

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Picture of Phil Gold

Discovered the carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) and shaped the modern era of cancer immunology

Dr. Phil Gold

An inspirational educator and a ground-breaking scientist in cancer research

Dr. Gold and his colleague Dr. Samuel Freedman are credited with the groundbreaking discovery of carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), the first clinically-useful human tumour marker and one that is found in 70% of cancer patients. It was a concept-shifting discovery and helped shape the modern era of cancer immunology. Through this work, Dr. Gold is credited for developing the field of Human Tumour Marker Biology. Perhaps Dr. Gold’s most outstanding quality is related to what he loves best – teaching. Dr. Gold cares deeply about his students and residents. This attitudes combined with his passion for medicine and science, means that no student ever forgets a session with him.

Key Facts

Demonstrated CEA was found in embryonic and fetal tissue, which initiated the field of Oncodevelopmental Biology

The discovery of CEA aided in the creation of the first serological test available for diagnosing cancer in the human digestive tract

Published more than 100 articles and is one of the most cited authors in scientific journals

Raised extraordinary sums of money for the medical community

Was instrumental in establishing national programs aimed at inspiring the next generation of clinician-scientists

Professional timeline

Impact on lives today

Dr. Gold’s legacy can been seen every time a CEA diagnostic test is employed. It remains the world’s most frequently used blood test in oncology and is the standard against which other human tumour makers are measured. Significantly, Dr. Gold has not only provided the scientific advances that continue to fuel research questions today, his impact is also felt in the institutions he helped to build. Over forty years later, Dr. Gold’s original dream of creating a first-rate cancer centre by centralizing the efforts of McGill University and its affiliated hospitals has been realized. Today, the MCC is one of the top cancer research institutes in the country and its research continues to bring new insights to cancer treatment and care.

Picture of Phil Gold


  • Gold’s Rounds book cover

    Dr. Gold publishes his autobiography: Gold’s Rounds

    Dr. Phil Gold's autobiography tells the story of one remarkable man's journey

  • Phil Gold McGill Medal 2022

    Dr. Phil Gold awarded the McGill University Medal for Exceptional Academic Achievement

  • Dr. Phil Gold

    Phil Gold inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame

    Calgary, Alberta

  • Dr. Phil Gold at the MUHC

    Dr. Gold became Executive Director of the Clinical Research Centre of the Research Institute at the McGill University Health Centre

    He was also appointed the Douglas G. Cameron Professor of Medicine, and Professor in Departments of Physiology and Oncology at McGill University.

  • Dr. Gold returned to the Montreal General Hospital as Physician-in-Chief

    As Physician in Chief of the MGH he assumed overall responsibility for patient care, teaching and research within the hospital.

  • Dr. Gold established and became the inaugural director of the McGill Cancer Centre


    The MCC was the first such University-based Department of Oncology in North America.

  • Dr. Gold returned to the Montreal General Hospital and McGill University as an Assistant Professor of Medicine

    By 1977, he was appointed Director of the Division of Clinical Immunology and Allergy.

  • Dr. Gold traveled to New York City to pursue training at its Public Health Research Institute

    As a Centennial Fellow of the Medical Research Council of Canada, Dr. Gold remained there for a year before returning to Canada.

  • Dr. Phil Gold and Dr. Samuel Freedman

    Along with Samuel Freedman, a noted allergist and immunologist, Dr. Phil Gold published the ground-breaking discovery of CEA


    The marker today remains the most frequently used blood test in oncology.

  • After a year of rotating internships and year-long residence in general medicine, Dr. Gold decided to pursue a PhD

    He spent the next two years in the laboratories of the McGill University Medical Clinical at the Montreal General Hospital.

  • Dr. Gold graduated from medical schools, accompanied by numerous prizes

    Among these was the Wood Gold Medal for First Place High Aggregate Standing in the Final Year.


The one thing I’ve never given up is teaching.