Bruce Cain was the first Director of the Auckland Cancer Research Laboratory, now known as the Auckland Cancer Society Research Centre. He joined the NZSO in 1975 and served as president shortly afterwards. He remained a member of the Society until his sudden death in January 1981.
Bruce has not only been remembered by the Bruce Cain Memorial Lectures at the annual meetings of the NZSO but also by the Bruce Cain Memorial Award at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research from 1982 to 2006.
Tony Reeve met Bruce in the mid-1970s. He recalls: 'He was a legend, yeah. I met him on several occasions … I would have been about thirty and he seemed like an avuncular old gentleman, he really had that mana about him. He was right into interacting with the clinicians. I had another friend who's just – he was the head oncologist at the hospital [in Dunedin] and he's just retired – he was in the first intake of the medical school in Auckland. I remember going into Bruce Cain's office and there wasn't enough room and people just sat around on the floor, and he was one of them, just listening to this guy talk. And likewise, it was a two-way conversation because Bruce wanted to constantly get a clinical perspective to make sure that he was veering in the right direction. It's so important for basic scientists to actually have an idea of where their research is heading in terms of human needs'.