Phil GoldThis year marks the 50th anniversary of the pioneering research of the Faculty of Medicine’s Dr. Phil Gold, who, along with his colleague Dr. Samuel Freedman, discovered and defined the Carcinoembryonic Antigen (CEA)-the most frequently used blood test used as a biomarker in the diagnosis and management of patients with cancer.

To celebrate this seminal breakthrough, Dr. Gold was recently honoured at the 25th Annual International CEA Symposium held in Washington and will be likewise at the International Society for Oncology and Biomarkers in Poland.

The Douglas G. Cameron Professor of Medicine and Professor of Physiology and Oncology at McGill, Dr. Gold has served as Chairman of the Department of Medicine at McGill and Physician-in-Chief at the Montreal General Hospital. He is presently the Executive Director of the Clinical Research Centre of the McGill University Health Centre.

Dr. Gold obtained his BSc in Honors Physiology in 1957 and his MDCM and an MSc degree in Physiology in 1961, all at McGill. Dr. Gold spent 1963-1965 in the laboratories of The McGill University Medical Clinic of The Montreal General Hospital (now The Montreal General Hospital Research Institute) obtaining a PhD. Dr. Gold’s discovery of the CEA, along with the description of alpha-fetoprotein at about the same time, ushered in the modern era of human tumour marker research along with the broad ramifications that this work has had over the past five decades.

“The past fifty years have been an adventure and a privilege,” said Dr. Gold recently.  “To be remembered by one’s colleagues is, indeed, a great honour.”

In addition to these two most recent awards, Dr. Gold has gained national and international recognition for both his research and for his outstanding contributions as a medical educator. He has been elected to numerous prestigious organizations and has been the recipient of such outstanding awards as the Gairdner Foundation Annual International Award (1978), the Isaak Walton Killam Award in Medicine of the Canada Council (1985), the National Cancer Institute of Canada R.M. Taylor Medal (1992), the Heath Medal of the MD Anderson Hospital (1980), the Inaugural Ernest C. Manning Foundation Award (1982), the Johann-Georg-Zimmerman Prize for Cancer Research (1978), Medizinische Hochschule, Germany (1978), the Award of the Academy of International Dental Studies (1984), and the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Medal (2002).

Dr. Gold has also been elected to membership in the Royal Society of Canada, the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI), the Association of American Physicians (AAP), and Mastership in the American College of Physicians. His outstanding contributions to teaching have been recognized by an award as a Teacher of Distinction from the Faculty of Medicine. He has been honored by his country, his province his city, and his university by appointment as a Companion of the Order of Canada, an Officer of l’Ordre National du Québec, a member of the Academy of Great Montrealers; and a recipient of the Gold Medal of the McGill University Graduate Society, respectively.

In 2006, the Phil Gold Chair in Medicine was inaugurated at McGill University, and the first incumbent was selected in 2009.  Dr. Gold was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame in 2010.  He received the Life Time Achievement Award from McGill University in October 2011 and the McGill University’s Gerald Bronfman Center Lifetime Achievement Award, Department of Oncology in November 2012.  Dr. Gold is an Honourary Member of the Golden Key Chapter of McGill,  received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Award in 2012 and the Prix du Québec, Prix Wilder-Penfield in November 2013.

Congratulations Dr. Gold!