The Beyond
Strategic Pillar

About The Beyond Chemotherapy Strategic Pillar

The Beyond Chemotherapy Strategic Pillar focuses on the support, investment, and strategic oversight of in-centre activities that will bring us closer to a vision of moving beyond chemotherapy. This program will uncover, trial, and expand alternative treatments that are highly effective while minimizing harmful side effects for patients. Through clinical advancement in particle therapy, theranostics, immunotherapy, genomics, and revisions in models of care, the Beyond Chemotherapy strategic pillar strives to support positive patient outcomes by implementing targeted, innovative therapies

What We Do

Within the Beyond Chemotherapy Strategic Pillar, four program components focus on uncovering and expanding alternative treatments to chemotherapy. The four program components are Immunotherapy, Novel Models of Care, Theranostics, and Precision Genomics

Cancer Immunotherapy is a form of cancer treatment that uses the power of the body’s own immune system to prevent, control, and eliminate cancer.

Our goal at Princess Margaret is to better understand how the immune system can be harnessed to fight cancer, to develop new treatment approaches to improve the effectiveness of these treatments and make them more safe

The use of precision genomics will better allow clinicians to select the right treatment for a specific patient potentially using a combination of factors including the molecular profile of the patient as well as the cancer.

The goals of this type of approach are to potentially improve treatment effectiveness and minimize the potential for toxicities

The incorporation of novel therapeutics into routine clinical requires PM to develop new ways to provide patient care and opportunities to further improve patient outcomes.

Our first project in this area will focus on patients that are being treated palliatively and if we can find ways to optimize the use of novel treatments in this setting.

Theranostics is a combination of the terms “therapeutic” and “diagnostic”. It is a combination of:

  • A diagnostic component to identify where areas of cancer are located
  • A treatment component where a therapy can be delivered at any detected site of cancer

Who We Are

John Kuruvilla

Co-Medical Director, Princess Margaret Beyond Chemotherapy

Dr. John Kuruvilla is a Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto and a hematologist in the Division of Medical Oncology and Hematology at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto. He is a member of the Lymphoma, Autologous Transplant and Immune Effector Cell Therapy programs and Co-Director of the Beyond Chemotherapy Program.

Dr. Kuruvilla’s research interest is the development of novel therapeutics in lymphoid malignancies and incorporating translational research into clinical trials. He is the Lymphoma Co-Chair for the Canadian Cancer Trials Group (CCTG) as well as the Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board of Lymphoma Canada.

Stephanie Lheureux

Co-Medical Director, Princess Margaret Beyond Chemotherapy

STEPHANIE LHEUREUX MD, PhD is a Medical Oncologist, Clinician Investigator, Site Lead of Gynecology Oncology and co-director of the Beyond Chemotherapy Program at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. She is an Associate Professor, Faculty of Medicine, and Associate Member, Graduate Faculty of the Institute of Medical Science at the University of Toronto.

Her clinical and academic interests are focused in gynecologic cancers and early drug development with an emphasis on translational research and have garnered two ASCO Merit awards. She received the 2019 Career Development Award from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and the 2021 Young Investigator Award from University of Toronto Division of Medical Oncology. Internationally, she is co-Chair of the Translational Research Committee and Director representing Princess Margaret Consortium at the international Gynecologic Cancer InterGroup (GCIG). She is principal investigator or co-principal investigator of different clinical trials and in several large-scale peer reviewed funding opportunities ranging from the Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute to Terry Fox Research Institute

Suman Dhanju

Director, Princess Margaret Beyond Chemotherapy

Suman Dhanju, was appointed as Director, Toronto Central South Regional Cancer Program, University Health Network, and Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. Suman joins UHN from Ontario Health, where she worked to support person-centred care initiatives across the Ontario Cancer System. She brings that experience to the Regional Cancer Program where she worked with clinical and administrative leaders in Toronto Central South to support local, regional and provincial objectives including improved patient experience, safety and fiscal responsibility.

Cameron Sharpe

Planning Associate, Princess Margaret Beyond Chemotherapy

Originally from Seattle, Washington, Cameron graduated from the University of British Columbia in 2017. After graduation, he moved back home to Seattle and worked at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center for two years. In 2019, Cameron moved to Ontario to study at Western University to get his Master of Public Health and graduated in October 2020. Before joining the team at Princess Margaret, Cameron worked at the Region of Waterloo Public Health Unit as a Health Promotion and Research Analyst. For fun, he enjoys being a foodie and exploring the city.

Funding Opportunity

Princess Margaret Cancer Centre aspires to be a global leader in replacing non-specific cytotoxic therapies with less toxic, more, or equally effective alternatives.

Princess Margaret Grand Challenges will support bold, innovative and high impact projects across the spectrum of cancer care. Grand Challenges are open to applicants from all UHN campuses across all disciplines. Projects should be bold with clearly defined milestones, a realistic endpoint, and clear patient impact achievable within a 24 month time period and sustainable thereafter. Ideas from across the spectrum of cancer activity will be considered and can be of any nature, including, but not restricted to for example: research, practice change, outreach, education, supportive care, technology, increased testing, alternate procedures, etc.

Challenge is Closed

Beyond Chemotherapy Events

The Beyond Chemotherapy Strategic Pillar focuses on supporting and overseeing activities that will bring us closer to a vision of moving beyond chemotherapy. This Strategic Pillar’s goal is not only to support novel therapy but promote and share events that bring together researchers and leaders to discuss innovative ways to accomplish our goals. We have and will continue to host lectures as part of a symposium series.

Beyond Chemotherapy Strategic Pillar Symposium

Expanding Applicability of Immune Effector Therapies – April 2022: Dr. Helen Heslop from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. In the talk, Dr. Heslop expanded on the current cellular immunotherapies development and the Epstein Barr Virus-specific T cells (EBVSTs) or NKT cells allogeneic platforms and discussed the different tumour-associated antigens (TAAs) opportunities and challenges.

Beyond Chemotherapy News

Transformative corporate donation helps in the fight against cancer

A new $10-million commitment from Agnico Eagle Mines will take cancer innovation at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre to the next level. For Sean Boyd, Vice-Chairman and CEO of Agnico Eagle, it is vital support that will help millions of people living with cancer.

Princess Margaret Grand Challenge winners aim to cure more lung cancers and offer less toxic therapy

A series of bold, innovative and high-impact projects launching at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre are advancing cancer diagnoses and treatments to cure more patients and improve quality of life by moving beyond chemotherapy.

Team working toward first-in-human trial of new theranostic tool win Beyond Chemotherapy Grand Challenge

A group of UHN clinicians and scientists testing a new way to pinpoint cancerous tumours have won the first Agnico Eagle Grand Challenge “Beyond Chemotherapy” Award.