Cancer Research

Oncolytic Virus - $1,689,393.00

The Cancer Foundation invests in local cancer research, believing that each discovery in the lab brings us one step closer to a cure. It’s a very exciting time here in Ottawa, as Dr. John Bell and his team are making great progress in the development of new biotherapies for cancer. Specifically, they are working with viruses that are trained to seek and destroy cancers and leave normal cells unharmed.

Researchers have embarked on a Phase 1 Clinical Trial with a new homegrown technology. This is a virus that they have developed in the cancer research labs here in Ottawa. It’s a virus that will target a variety of cancer types, and will also induce a very strong immune response against those tumors.

So far, the results have been incredibly promising, and scientists believe this platform could be game-changing in terms of how doctors treat and manage the disease. Patients who have been receiving viruses as therapies are not succumbing to the side effects that you see with some conventional medications like chemotherapy. These patients have flu-like symptoms for 24 hours, and doctors have seen some absolutely dramatic tumor shrinkage responses in a variety of the patients that were treated.

Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) Research - $100,000

Thanks to your generosity the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation has supported this innovative research, investing $250,000, which includes $100,000 donated by the Ottawa Kiwanis Medical Foundation and funds raised through special events including the Great Canadian Lemonade Standemonium.

The research involves combining two immunotherapies currently in clinical trials: Dr. Bell’s established research into the use of live oncolytic viruses to kill cancer and SMAC Mimetic Compounds (SMCs), a drug therapy that sensitizes cells to cell death.

In the experiments and models when researchers add the drug alone, not much happens; maybe five per cent of the cancer is affected. When they add the oncolytic virus and the drug together, the whole tumour disappears.

In fact, the synergy between the two treatments is so powerful, the increase in killing cancer cells is 10,000 times more effective. You can use a lower concentration of drugs and a lower infection of the virus. It’s a drug combination that works with an activated immune system; you stimulate the immune system with an agent and, lo and behold, you get a 10,000 more effective killing of cancer cells.

EPIC Study - $10,000

Nausea and vomiting are common side effects of chemotherapy, but there are ways to control the impact on each person. The EPIC Study is designed to help with that. Using a mathematical tool, doctors hope to determine which breast cancer patients would be at high-risk of developing these side effects after chemo. The study looked at standard anti-nausea and vomiting treatments compared to one used once the math tool was taken into account and the risk score was calculated in advance of each chemo cycle. Blood, urine and tissue samples were taken from 75 patients. These samples will be used to help evaluate non-protein biomarkers that regulate gene expression. This study will help researchers understand what kinds of side effects a patient might have and how the cancer might respond to different treatments.