Brian O’Sullivan awarded Harold Warwick Prize by the Canadian Cancer Society
UTDRO's Professor Brian O'Sullivan was recently honoured with the 2017 O. Harold Warwick Prize from the Canadian Cancer Society. This price recognizes Dr. O'Sullivan's many contributions to clinical research over the last 30 years. His discoveries in optimizing radiation therapy and minimizing its side effects have shaped cancer treatment around the world.
The O. Harold Warwick Prize is given for outstanding achievements in cancer control research. It honours Dr. Warwick, a pioneering researcher in cancer control and treatment, and the first executive director of the former National Cancer Institute of Canada and the Canadian Cancer Society. The award comes with a $20,000 contribution to the recipient’s research program.
UTDRO Chair, Dr. Fei-Fei Liu said, "I am extremely proud to work with Dr. O'Sullivan. With his valuable contributions and excellence in cancer research, he is truly deserving of this award."
The Canadian Cancer Society highlighted the following highlights of Dr. O'Sullivan's career:
Dr O’Sullivan has the distinction of transforming care for two completely different types of cancer – cancers that affect the head and neck, and soft tissue sarcomas that affect the body’s supportive or connective tissues (e.g. muscle and fat).
Current treatments for head and neck cancers can have devastating side effects. Dr O’Sullivan’s research identified patients with tonsil cancer whose tumours can be safely treated with less radiation to help preserve salivary gland function and avoid long-term complications. His research also identified patients with mouth and throat cancers related to the human papillomavirus (HPV) who may be able to safely receive less aggressive therapy.
Among his accomplishments in sarcoma research, Dr O’Sullivan led a pivotal clinical trial that revealed that radiation was more beneficial when given before surgery rather than afterwards. This established a new standard of care for sarcoma, changing practice worldwide. More recently, his research on a form of radiation therapy guided by medical imaging led to its adoption for sarcoma treatment at several international cancer centres.
Dr O’Sullivan’s commitment to serving the global cancer research community has been unwavering, including his long-standing work with the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) on improving the TNM (tumour, lymph node, metastasis) classification system and making it more accessible worldwide. His research has had a direct impact on cancer care, leading to better treatment strategies with fewer side effects.