Biography written by Bruce Baguley in 2010.
Professor Bruce Frank Cain has his name given to a prestigious invited oration at each annual meeting. He was born in Auckland in 1930 and studied at The University of Auckland, receiving a BSc in Chemistry in 1951 and a PhD in Organic Chemistry in 1955. After two years of postdoctoral studies with the Nobel Prize-winning chemist Sir Robert Robinson at Oxford University, he returned to New Zealand in 1956, accepting an invitation from the Cancer Society of New Zealand to set up what was then called The Cancer Research Laboratory. This had the aim of developing new anticancer compounds, a very new field of research at this stage with few other international players. Bruce initially concentrated his studies on extracts of New Zealand native plants as a source of possible anticancer drugs, but in the 1960s decided to change research direction, instead utilising the rapidly developing field of synthetic organic chemistry to design, synthesise and test new anticancer drugs.