A Vision of
Moving Beyond Chemotherapy:

High Definition Therapeutics
Strategic Pillar

About High Definition Therapeutics

The High Definition Therapeutics Pillar focuses on the support, investment, and strategic oversight of in-centre activities that will bring us closer to a vision of moving beyond traditional 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 High Definition Therapeutics strategic pillar strives to support positive patient outcomes by implementing targeted, innovative therapies.

What We Do

Within the High Definition Therapeutics Pillar, four program components focus on uncovering and expanding alternative treatments to move beyond traditional chemotherapy options. 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 High Definition Therapeutics

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 High Definition Therapeutics 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 High Definition Therapeutics

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 High Definition Therapeutics

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.

Judy Zhu

Planning Associate, Princess Margaret High Definition Therapeutics

Judy holds an Honours BSc from the University of Toronto in Physiology and Health and Disease Studies. She has extensive operational and project management experience from different clinical, public, and private sectors of healthcare service and delivery. This includes conducting clinical research and co-authorships at Toronto Western Hospital, working from the industry side of Western Canadian drug supply chain management and narcotics operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, and planning and executing provincial scale patient experience projects in British Columbia.

Funding Opportunity

Princess Margaret Grand Challenges all support bold, innovative and high impact projects across the spectrum of cancer care in each of its strategic pillars, including High Definition Therapeutics. The 4th iteration of the Grand Challenges are open to applicants from all UHN campuses across all disciplines. Princess Margaret Cancer Centre aspires to be a leader globally in replacing non-specific cytotoxic therapies with less toxic and more, or equally effective alternates. The team is looking to support a number of applications, with a total of $500,000 available to distribute across all successful applicant(s).

Applications should focus on projects with a clear trajectory that result in a sustainable decrease in the use of cytotoxic therapy.

Applications should focus on prospective opportunities. Opportunities can include those that focus on novel radiation treatment/theranostics, surgical and systemic intervention, immunotherapy, and innovative models of care etc.

The Agnico Eagle Beyond Chemotherapy Grand Challenge
2023-24 cycle is now OPEN:

This is hosted by the Princess Margaret High Definition Therapeutics Strategic Pillar.

Submit your 2-step Application:

Please carefully read complete details and instructions before submission

Download, complete, and submit the registration template form:

Submit Registration Form
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Follow instructions in the Call for Applications, then submit below:

Submit Full Application
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2023 Registration Timeline 2023 Deadlines
Launch of the Grand Challenge October 3rd (Tuesday)

– Instructions -> see Call for Applications PDF
– Both Registration and Full application Portal Open

1. Registration Form Due October 23rd (Monday)

– Apply -> Fill & submit Registration form on website
– Registration portal closes at Oct 23rd 11:59pm EST

2. Full Application Due November 6th (Monday)

– Submission portal closes Nov 6th 11:59pm EST

Reviewing Process November 7th – November 28th
Announce Winner December 1st (Friday)


There are three project areas of specific interest:

  • Novel projects that immediately look to reduce non-specific cytotoxic therapies with alternative approaches that are ready for broad use in targeted patient populations and clinical testing within 6-9 months of our funding. REB approval status must be received or pending approval.
  • Research projects that further at-home biomarker discovery early in development, or need additional support for conducting impactful correlative analyses at UHN.
  • Underway projects in need of additional funds to cover the cost of upstart of studies that are ready for clinical testing or drug purchasing.

Projects must be “Shovel-ready” to be considered. They must articulate:

  • Commitment to clearly defined quarterly milestones, a realistic endpoint.
  • Feasible patient enrollment strategy and timeline with clear patient impact achievable within our 18 month period and sustainable thereafter.
  • REB approval must be in-process for clinical trials, and received approvals are preferred. Considerations for all timelines must fit within the funding period.

Additional Preferred Criteria:

Projects which have built meaningful and strong partnerships between scientists and clinicians, involve multi-disciplinary teams, involve external partners where relevant (especially those in which available matching funds are applied to increase impact), will be favorably viewed. Platforms/therapies that have been developed by PM/UHN investigators or scientists will also be favorably viewed. Projects that leverage existing designated funding


  • Funding will be assigned based on the scale, timelines and projected impact; Award amount will be negotiated with successful applicants.
  • There is a budget up to $500,000 (inclusive of 10% UHN overhead) available to distribute across all successful projects. In line with that, applicants should submit a reasonable budget to help catalyze initiatives with a timeline not to exceed 18 months.
  • Funding will be a non-renewable grant.
  • Funds will expire after 18 months with carry forward generally not allowed.

What are the expected reporting requirements and outputs?

Successful applicants will be required to provide:

  • A quarterly Progress & Spending Report Update, unless specified otherwise.
  • Commitment to providing relevant abstracts, updates, publication messaging, for our annual High Definition Therapeutics Impact Report and Term End Reports.
  • A presentation of the project at one of our Strategic Pillar Steering Committee Meetings, when requested.
  • A Presentation of the project at UHN-wide symposium speaker series, if requested.


  • Applicants from all UHN campuses are eligible to apply.
  • Applicants can be the nominated lead in only one (1) Grand Challenge application.
  • At least one of the principal applicants must have a faculty appointment as a clinician or scientist or relevant professional practice at UHN.

High Definition Therapeutics Events

The High Definition Therapeutics 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.

Upcoming Events:

  • Jan 11, 2024 – TBA
  • April 25, 2024 – TBA

Past Events:

  • Oct 4, 2023 | 8:00AM | PMH 6-604 Bob Bell Auditorium– Dr. Thomas Hope (in person seminar)

Seeing What You’re Treating – Is that Precision Medicine?” by Dr. Thomas Hope, UCSF

High Definition Therapeutics 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.