Sir Harpal Kumar, Cancer Research UK’s chief executive, said: “I am deeply saddened to hear of the untimely and sudden death of Professor Patrick Johnston. He was regarded as one of the world’s leading cancer researchers – his passing is an enormous loss.
“A long-standing supporter of Cancer Research UK, he served on numerous funding committees and played a pivotal role in shaping our research strategy. He established the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology in Belfast and was a leading light in the field of personalised medicine for bowel cancer. Still an active researcher, he had only recently renewed his programme grant with us to pursue new therapeutic approaches for this disease.
“He was a true pioneer in cancer research and was also hugely committed to ensuring that people in Northern Ireland have access to the best possible cancer services. A truly inspiring man, the loss of Professor Johnston will be felt not just among the UK’s research community, but right around the world, such was the level of respect he commanded.”