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Dr. Paul Karanicolas appointed to the Sherif and Mary-Lou Hanna Chair in Surgical Oncology Research

March 1, 2024

Sunnybrook is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Paul Karanicolas, to the Sherif and Mary-Lou Hanna Chair in Surgical Oncology Research, jointly shared by Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and the University of Toronto. The Chair is held for a five-year term by a surgeon with a special interest in one or more of the following clinical areas: colorectal cancer, hepato-pancreato-biliary (HPB) cancer, melanoma, breast cancer or other gastrointestinal or abdominal cancers.

“I’m honoured to be appointed to the Sherif and Mary-Lou Hanna Chair,” says Dr. Karanicolas, surgical oncologist and scientist in the Odette Cancer Program at Sunnybrook. “This recognition will help support our research, ultimately improving treatment and quality-of-life for patients with gastrointestinal cancers.”

Dr. Karanicolas’ research focuses on designing and leading clinical trials in surgical oncology. He has spearheaded the establishment of the HepatoPancreaticoBiliary Community of Surgical Oncologists: Clinical, Evaluative, and Prospective Trials Team (HPB CONCEPT Team), a Canada-wide consensus-based framework for liver and pancreas cancer research. The HPB CONCEPT team's goals are to improve the care of patients with HPB cancers through investigator-initiated research and to provide a forum for developing high-impact clinical trials.

Dr. Karanicolas has led several trials at Sunnybrook and internationally. He holds several leadership roles including Medical/Scientific director of the Centre for Clinical Trials Support at SRI and Co-Chair of the Canadian Cancer Trials Group (CCTG) Hepatobiliary Disease Oriented Group. Dr. Karanicolas is also the surgical lead for the hepatic arterial infusion pump chemotherapy program at the Odette Cancer Centre, the only program of its kind in Canada. It offers an additional therapeutic option for patients with colorectal liver metastases.

The Sherif and Mary-Lou Hanna Chair in Surgical Oncology Research was established in 2008 to support surgical oncologists as they conduct research that enhances cancer surgery in Canada and around the world. The Chair was named to honour one of Sunnybrook’s leading surgical oncologists, the late Dr. Sherif Hanna and his wife, Mary-Lou. Dr. Hanna is remembered not only for his significant contributions to the field of surgical oncology but for the unwavering empathy and compassion he showed each and every one of his patients, inspiring his colleagues and students to emulate the same level of care.

“This is particularly special to me because Dr. Hanna was a great friend and mentor to me; as the chair-holder I aspire to treat patients each day with the humility, dignity, and compassion that Dr. Hanna embodied,” adds Dr. Karanicolas.

The Chair was previously held by Dr. Natalie Coburn, a surgical oncologist and senior scientist in the Odette Cancer Program and Platform Director of Evaluative Clinical Sciences at Sunnybrook Research Institute. Support from the Sherif and Mary-Lou Hanna Chair has been foundational in establishing Dr. Coburn’s research program, which focuses on evaluating and improving outcomes for patients who have gastrointestinal tract cancers. Her work has contributed internationally to guideline creation to improve processes of care.

The Sherif and Mary-Lou Hanna Chair in Surgical Oncology Research is made possible thanks to founding support from the Estate of Sherif Hanna and the generosity of our donor community.