Dr. Frances Shepherd

Setting a New World Standard of Care for Lung Cancer

Dr. Frances Shepherd
If Dr. Frances Shepherd was a football player collecting Super Bowl rings instead of scientific awards, she would have run out of fingers to wear them on long ago. But she has devoted her career to improving the lives of patients who have lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer death in the Western world. Almost 400 Canadians die of lung cancer every week. Despite these bleak statistics, Dr. Shepherd believes she and her team are winning their battle against this malignancy.
Dr. Shepherd led a North America-wide study of chemotherapy administered after surgery that resulted in an unprecedented 15 percent improvement in the survival rate for lung cancer at 5 years, and changed practice worldwide. She was also the principal investigator of a global trial that showed for the first time that a molecularly-targeted agent could prolong survival in patients with end-stage lung cancer who had no further options for treatment.
Playing the role of coach and quarterback in the Lung Cancer site group at The Princess Margaret, Dr. Shepherd has helped to raise the funds to recruit other scientific superstars to her cause. These include:
  • Dr. Andrea Bezjak, Addie MacNaughton Chair in Lung Cancer Radiation Therapy
  • Dr. Geoffrey Liu, Alan B. Brown Chair in Molecular Genomics
  • Dr. Ming-Sound Tsao, M. Qasim Choksi Chair in Lung Cancer Translational Research
  • Dr. Thomas Waddell, Chair in Regenerative Medicine Priority Platform
Other recent ‘draft picks’ include Dr. Heidi Roberts who heads up the Lusi Wong Early Detection Program that has already screened over 4,000 Canadians for lung cancer. Dr. Natasha Leighl focuses on new drug treatments, the economics of lung cancer therapy and treatment decision-making in advanced cancer. Drs. Anthony Brade and Andrew Hope are studying the interaction of chemotherapy and radiation as well as radiation lung injury, while Drs. Andrew Pierre and Marc De Perrot are leading the minimally-invasive lung cancer surgery and mesothelioma programs respectively.